‘Where vultures feast’

Gamal Nkrumah


The militant Islamist Somali militia Al-Shabab has long proved that they will stoop to any murderous depth to entrench their hold on the Somali people. This week they resorted to one of their preferred tactical strategies and evacuated the Somali capital Mogadishu. Fears are mounting that militant Islamist groups in Somalia will return in due course. The international community and continental groupings such as the African Union and the Arab League as well as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — Somalia is a fully-fledged member state of the three aforementioned bodies — must do more to stem the savagery of Al-Shabab.

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A newly arrived Somali refugee children weep as they receive a measles vaccine at a refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border. Aid agencies vaccinate against polio and measles in the camp where hundreds of thousands of refugees have settled after fleeing devastating drought and warfare in Somalia

Somalia has in the heart-wrenching words of a famine victim become a land “where vultures feast”. The victims devoured by the vultures in question are not necessarily decomposed bodies of the Somalis that perished in the famine. The political vultures that pitilessly pursue the famished are far more lethal and noxious.

If there is a gruesome danger zone in the Horn of Africa emergency aid system, it is the rampant corruption of both donor and recipient nations in the region. The impoverished mainly ethnic Somalis of the Horn are taking a hammering and yesterday’s United Nations’ conference in Nairobi to raise at least $1.6 billion to help assist humanitarian relief efforts is not exactly a chance to regain lost ground.

 Emergency meeting such as that at the Food and Agriculture Organisation headquarters based in Rome on Monday will be to no avail if rival regional nations and humanitarian bodies cannot account for the millions of money lost and looted, and not accounted for. But only if public order is maintained can the demoniacal tragedy of the starving millions be rectified.

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