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Silent Witnesses: 20 Million Civilians Lost To The World
ISSUE 126
Front Page
Index

Headlines

- President Dahir Rayale Kahin Pardons Demonstrators

- Somaliland Court Convicts And Sentences 30 Ethiopian Rebels To Five Years In Prison

- UN Envoy Says Mbagathi Talks Concern Somalia Not Somaliland

- Somaliland Asks Donors For US$64 Million For Being An African Success Story

- Somaliland Minister Seeks Recognition For "Peace Haven"

- Special Report: How The First Kenyan Battalion Was Set Up

Health

- Journalists In Djibouti Encouraged To Fight Against AIDS

International News

- Waris Dirie Receives World Award

- Fighting Between Rival Militias Flares In Somalia

- Somalis Demonstrate In Support Of Nuradin Abdi

- Gunmen Shut Down Somali Port

- Illegal Italy-Bound Sri Lankan Dies In Somalia
- Silent Witnesses: 20 Million Civilians Lost To The World

- Amnesty Slams Somali Repatriation

- Kenya Airways To Fly To Djibouti

- DJIBOUTI To Meet Donors Over Poverty-Reduction Strategy

- Amnesty Slams Somali Repatriation

- BBC-Backed Meeting Of Puntland Journalists Flops

- Somalian Charged With Plotting To Blow Up Columbus-Area Mall

- 'Here Is Better,' Refugee From Somalia Says Of Salt Lake

- Somalis' Passport Fraud Prompts A Border Dispute

Peace Talks

- Annan Calls On Somali Leaders To Meet Reconciliation Deadline

- Broad Somali Govt Can Rebuild Trust-U.N. Official

 

Editorial & Opinions

- Rayale: The Right Choice

- Children: A Neglected Promsing Force For The Future

- Educational Programme

- The Sovereignty Of Somaliland And Its Role In The Conflict Resolution Of The Region


New York, June 15, 2004 (Europe Intelligence Wire) THERE ARE three actors in every Third World conflict. Each is armed with a weapon of survival. The soldier, usually unpaid and dressed in rags, has his gun. The politician, who stands behind him, has his voice. The civilian - who endures the brunt of misery, illness and death - has only her legs. They are only good for running. In most cases they are not fast enough.

Scruple-free governments, rag-tag rebel groups and other predators of conflict put the lives of more than 20 million people at risk, the chief of United Nations humanitarian operations, Jan Egeland, said in New York yesterday. UN and aid agencies were unable to deliver "the basic means of survival" to those that needed it most as a result of obstacles ranging from petty bureaucracy to callous obstructionism, to the outright menace of violence. "For every politician, aid is something to be twisted to their advantage," one aid worker said yesterday.

Relatively few aid workers risk going to Somalia, which is possibly the world's most lawless country. There has been no central government since 1991. The only rulers are gangster-like warlords, who have carved the country into a patchwork of rival areas. It is a chaotic, perilous environment that is becoming ever more hazardous for aid workers. Last month the capital, Mogadishu, was gripped by days of street battles that claimed more than 50 lives.

Other, more sinister forces may also be threatening humanitarian relief. Five foreign aid workers have been assassinated in the northern breakaway republic of Somaliland in recent months. The circumstances remain unclear, but extremist Islamic terrorists are suspected.

Last month aid workers pulled out of Dinsor, a southern town, after a freshly laid land mine was discovered on the local airstrip. UN officials said the sophistication of the device suggested it had been planted by al-Qa'ida or its local sympathisers.

The escalating security risks have forced most international aid workers out of Somalia. UN bosses must seek security clearance from New York for every trip to the capital, Mogadishu. They are often refused.


 

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