PO Box 61950 Nairobi

Tel: 254-2- 441225

Fax: 254-2- 442438

E-mail: sacb.so@undp.org

Somalia Aid Coordination Body

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

18 April 2002

 

PRESS RELEASE

SACB DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE HUMANITARIAN AND SECURITY SITUATION IN SOMALIA’S GEDO REGION

 

The Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB), comprising non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and donor governments, is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Somalia’s Northern Gedo region.  In recent days there has been an upsurge in violent fighting, which has caused death, injury and displacement to many Somalis and is seriously impairing the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to thousands of people in increasingly desperate need. 

 

The SACB strongly condemns the assassination of Nur Mohamed Yusuf, a senior local staff member of an international NGO who was killed on 11 April as a result of the current fighting, and the deaths of other innocent civilians caught in crossfire.

 

Of particular concern are reports of the increasing movement of arms in Gedo region, indicating that preparation for further fighting is ongoing.  The SACB calls upon the warring parties in Gedo to desist from the fighting, so that humanitarian access to the area, presently lost, is regained.  Without the reestablishment of this humanitarian access many more people could die.

 

Gedo region has been acutely affected by three consecutive years of crop failure, compounded by continued insecurity.  The population is extremely vulnerable and relies heavily on food aid for survival.  The current violence has caused thousands of people to flee their homes, exacerbating an already difficult situation.

 

The SACB is compelled to note that those in authority in Gedo region have an obligation under international humanitarian law to look after the welfare of the people under their control, and are obliged to ensure humanitarian access, security of humanitarian workers, as well as the protection of humanitarian supplies and the beneficiaries themselves.

 

The SACB expects that local authorities, businesses and others who play an active role in the affairs of Somalia’s southern regions will recognize their moral and legal responsibilities to those whose lives depend so desperately upon timely and appropriate humanitarian assistance.

 

Finally, the SACB supports and encourages peace initiatives that seek to sustain and build upon humanitarian relief assistance and calls for an increase of peace building efforts in this region.

 

For more information, please contact:

Maura Barry, SACB Secretariat, Tel:  (254 2) 448434, Fax:  (254 2) 442438