Death in Mogadishu
The standard intro to stories about Somalia recently has involved a lot of looking into the abyss, standing on the brink and generally teetering close to catastrophe. Today there’s no way of looking at things without concluding that the crampons of survival – or whatever it was that was going to keep Somalia together – were jettisoned a long time ago.
Aid workers, journalists and government officials are all targets as Mogadishu turns in on itself in the worst fighting since the collapse of central government 17 years ago.
As the BBC reported at the weekend…
Gunmen have killed the head of the UN Development Programme in Somalia, UN officials say. Osman Ali Ahmed was shot as he left a mosque in the capital, Mogadishu, and died in hospital of his injuries.
It is not difficult to work out what is going on here. While attacks on aid agencies and the UN are becoming commonplace, this is probably something more. The UNDP is the key pillar which is propping up Somalia’s monstrous Transitional Federal Government, filled with warlords and military muscle men – including figures who accepted US dollars to battle Islamists in the past. Now the Islamists are taking their revenge on anyone associated with the TFG.
A peace deal signed recently in Djibouti between leaders of an opposition alliance and the TFG shows no sign of making a difference as the signatories have no control over the militias inflicting such carnage on the ground. Meanwhile the west scratches its head and continues to pour money into a regime that is accused of gross human rights violations alongside its Ethiopian backers. And brave men like Osman Ali Ahmed continue to die.