UN to stop diversion of food aid in Somalia
A United Nations report called Wednesday for an end to alleged diversion of international food assistance in Somalia by corrupt contractors to local Islamist insurgents, DPA reported.
The report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the UN Security Council called for an investigation into allegations that food supplies channelled through the World Food Programme (WFP) and destined to needy Somalis had been stolen by third parties.
The charge of food diversion was made in March by a UN committee monitoring relief programmes in Somalia. WFP had said it would welcome an investigation. The committee said unscrupulous contractors working for WFP had diverted food supplies to the armed al Shabaab rebels fighting the pro-West transitional government in Somalia.
The report cited severe human rights abuses in al Shabaab-controlled areas, specially when the Islamists tried to impose their own rules. It reported of stoning, flogging and other physical abuses by the armed group on the civilian population.
The report said a total of 3.4 million Somalis, including 1.4 million displaced by fighting inside the country, need food assistance.
The report said the UN mission in Somalia has put in motion a risk management action plan aimed at blunting further abuses of the international relief to Somalia.
A database has been set up to blacklist names of suspects to prevent future hiring and involvement in relief programmes.