Aid Worker Murders Cripple Somali Relief

As crisis reaches flashpoint, 'organized terror campaign' drives out help
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2008 11:21 AM CDT
Aid Worker Murders Cripple Somali Relief
A boy carrying his young brother waits for food aid to arrive. Somalia has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world, something expected to escalate as aid workers flee the country.   (AP Photo/Farah Abdi)

Aid workers are fleeing Somalia, even as global food prices soar and a full-blown famine is feared, in response to what officials say is an organized campaign of violence. Messages posted in the capital and sent to aid organizations threaten: “We know all the so-called aid workers. We promise to kill them, wherever they are.” At least 20 workers have been killed and 17 abducted since January.

This month alone five people—including Somalian elders assisting with food distribution—were murdered. In response, the UN has relocated urban workers and scaled back programs across the country. Donors have likewise become skittish. “This couldn’t be happening at a worse time,” a UN spokesman told the New York Times. Somalia has been a notoriously difficult aid location, with one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. (More Somalia stories.)

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