End war crimes to help tackle famine – that is plea comes from Human Rights Watch. It says all parties to Somalia’s armed conflict have violated the laws of war, worsening the country’s humanitarian crisis.
Islamist rebels, troops of the Western-backed government and African peacekeepers are among those blamed in a report by the campaign group.
“Human Rights Watch is calling on all sides to immediately end abuses against civilians, hold those responsible to account, ensure access to aid, and to freedom of movement for people who are fleeing the conflict and the drought,’‘ Neela Ghoshal of HRW told a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
Other disturbing reports are emerging from Somalia. It is claimed that thousands of sacks of food aid meant for starving children and their families are being stolen and sold at markets. Banditry and looting are also preventing supplies from reaching those who most need them.
“Even the little food we get….is extorted by the militias and thugs who think that we are weak and vulnerable,” said Nisey Gabal, the mother of a malnourished child at Towfiq Camp in Mogadishu. “Please help us quickly.”
The World Health Organisation says a cholera epidemic is now spreading in Somalia. Tens of thousands have fled the country in search of food amid the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa for 60 years.