UN to target corrupt Somalis with new sanctions

The poor performance of the government is one reason why the population turned to Islamist militias in the first place. But if the threat of sanctions helps improve their performance, an analyst said, it could help win the government support.

“This new mandate has the potential to be very useful,” said Ken Menkhaus, a political science professor who specializes in Somalia at North Carolina’s Davidson College. “What the Security Council had in mind was to make the (government) more accountable and more legitimate in the eyes of the Somali people.”

It could also help force through humanitarian aid to those who need it, he said. Around 200,000 of the 750,000 at risk of starvation live in government-held areas, he said, but “we are having problems making sure aid is getting through to them because of corruption and interference and diversion.”

The Somali government did not respond to requests for comment. It recently proposed a joint watchdog with donors to track funding and corruption but the agency has not yet been set up. Many Somali ministers have dual nationality or assets abroad. The new prime minister, defense minister and minister of finance are all American citizens. Other Cabinet members are British or Canadian passport holders.

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