UN Food Cuts And Expanded War In Somalia Continue
This interview was broadcast on AfrobeatRadio on WBAI 99.5 FM on Saturday June 4, 2011. Thomas C Mountain’s report on Somalia UN Cuts Food, Expands War In Somalia.
AfrobeatRadio on WBAI/Wuyi Jacobs: We continue the news from the latest from Somalia where the ongoing war between the United Nations backed Transitional Federal Government and the militant Islamic group al-Shabab continues unabated. Independent journalist Thomas C. Mountain is with us today to report on the latest developments in Somalia where the UNO Relief Agency has scaled back on its support to displaced Somalis in an ironic twist due to the successes of the Transitional Government. Welcome Thomas.
Thomas C. Mountain: Thank you.
AfrobeatRadio: Can you please tell us the latest developments in Somalia?
Thomas C. Mountain: There are two things. The United Nations is cutting back food aid by over two-thirds to one million refugee Somalis that are in many ways their own actions help create.
On the other hand, the United Nation’s funded African Union troops who are there allegedly to support the Transitional Government are expanding their war in Mogadishu, and now claim that they’ve captured over 60 percent of the former Somali capital, Mogadishu. Now, at the same time, refugee agencies are reporting a major spike in Somali refugees whose arrival in the refugee camps, and for Somalis trying to flee Somalia.
So, it’s ironic that through what they say is a funding shortfall, the UN is only going to be providing thirty percent of the minimum food requirement to one million people that they are responsible for, but at the same time they spending tens of millions of dollars expanding the war against the Somali people under the name of war against terror.
Thomas C. Mountain: Well, If anything it has continued to get worse. The UN funded African Union troops, allegedly called peacekeepers, are continuing their onslaught against the people of Mogadishu, and there’s been continuing increase in refugees. The UN says that rather than cut anyone off of their efforts, to stop feeding a certain number of people, they are going to feed all the people but only give them thirty percent of their minimum survival requirements. In other words, the UN is overseeing slow starvation of a million Somalis, all the while, spending tens of millions in increasing the number of tanks, the number of heavy artillery, and helicopter gunships used to help create these refugees by invading Mogadishu in an expanded manner.
AfrobeatRadio: Have you heard from any of the governments in the region? Have they responded to this situation?
Thomas C. Mountain: Well, in general, Somalia is, even though it is in an extremely strategic part of the world . . . forty percent of the world’s maritime traffic goes past the shores of Somalia, from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and back and forth everyday, including forty percent of the world’s oil . . . it’s pretty much off the radar. I mean, Eritrea government where I live here, everyday on the news, on the TV is showing the crisis.
But as far as the rest of the government in the region, it is Ugandan troops that are actually carrying out this warped policy, along with some troops from Burundi. The governments in the region actually have got Somali blood on their hands while participating in this UN funded occupation of Somalia.
Who cares about Somalia? Somalis die; it doesn’t seem the world cares anymore.
AfrobeatRadio: Thomas C Mountain is reporting from Asmara. What are the people of Somalia themselves saying based on what you may have heard? And what conditions are they in?
Thomas C. Mountain: Al-Shabab is loosely translated to the youth, it’s the youth wing of the Islamic Court, and they are leading the resistance against the United Nations funded AU occupation of Mogadishu. The people I talk to are mainly the … what’s called the alliance of the re-liberation of Somalia, which was a broad attempt to unify the Somali people into a government. Yet the effort is down here in Asmara, Eritrea, but that has been sabotaged by the United states and Ethiopian government.
But, what they have to say is that the crisis in Somalia is worsening; that there’s been another major drought there. That drought extends into the Ogaden, Ethiopia and Somalia … as well. So you’ve got a huge humanitarian crisis that is expanding; the main problem is that in this ongoing war, the finger of blame is pointed squarely at external forces because the feeling is that if outside forces will quit interfering in Somalia’s internal affairs, the Somali people themselves might be able to very well put together a government and bring peace to their country.
They made clear that this is not new and an internal Somalia created problem, it external problem, and the best example of that all for the tens of millions of dollars they’ve spent out of the United Nations to fund African Union occupation army in Mogadishu.
AfrobeatRadio: What is your own opinion based on what you see?
Thomas C. Mountain: The reports I’ve been hearing is that it’s pretty desperate. I mean, a million people only receiving thirty percent of their minimum daily food requirement to survive, and the UN seems willing to perfectly stand by and allow these people to starve slowly to death. I think it’s a huge crime against humanity. Where is the world? Where is our humanity? All we see is really the controlled situation of starvation. Where’s the outrage?
Somalis are the best example of humanitarian intervention, when they can intervene and then control camps of many of the hundreds of thousand of refugees that are created by the United Nations and United the Nations will sit back and oversee these people being starved to death. That’s what’s on the ground, you know, and it’s not only existing in Somalia, it’s also taking place in Ethiopia as well.
AfrobeatRadio: Thank you very much.
Thomas C. Mountain: Okay, thank you for having me.
AfrobeatRadio: Thank you very much for staying up to talk to us.
Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006.
This interview was broadcast on AfrobeatRadio on WBAI 99.5 FM on Saturday June 4, 2011. AfrobeatRadio broadcast every Saturday from 4:00 to 5:00 PM EST. Streams live at www.wbai.org.