At least 40 humanitarian and human rights workers have been killed in Somalia since the beginning of the year, according to Amnesty International.
UN and UNICEF workers are among the dead. ‚ The identiy of the attackers is unknown, however some killings have been attributed to armed opposition groups affiliated with the Alliance for Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).
The rest of the deaths have been attributed to local criminal gangs, AI reports. ‚
“International leaders must establish a mechanism, such as an International Commission of Inquiry, to investigate these killings, kidnappings and beatings and bring those responsible to justice,” said David Copeman, AI’s Somalia campaigner.
Most recently, the deaths have been carried out by one or more gunmen, between the ages of 15 and 25. ‚
The deaths of these workers puts countless Somali lives at risk, since an estimated 3.25 million residents, almost half the population, will need food aid by the end of this year. ‚ Without workers, how will they get food?
Aid workers now face restrictions on their programs, especially those which transport food and medical aid into towns. ‚ Now, because of all the violence, aid‚ organizations‚ are beginning to pull out of Somalia.
The country is in bad shape. ‚ African Union workers‚ want‚ to pull out as soon as possible,‚ Ethiopian‚ troops are‚ spilling‚ into the country and killing civilians and countless children are without necessary medical aid.
Things tend to get worse before they get better. ‚ But how much worse can Somalia afford to get before it gets better?
Hopefully Copeman’s suggestion goes through. ‚ An international body for investigations would help not only Somalia but places like Zimbabwe, too.