Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Horn of Africa Weekly Review
The past two weeks has seen the Horn of Africa plunge into a new cycle of violence with the southern Somali port City of Kismayu falling into the hands of a new militant group. On the other hand, the city of Baidoa, the seat of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has seen an increase in turmoil with the latest incident highlighting the killing of a Member of Parliament. Also, Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia, is no exception with political schisms, assassinations, and sporadic gunfire becoming the order of the day. Should we glimpse at what is transpiring off the coasts of the Horn of Africa, we see nothing much has changed expect piracy and the demand for more ransom. So where is this region headed? Is there any conceivable light at the end of the tunnel?
These questions and many others are hard to decipher. The most shocking news on the internet today details starving Oromo refugees in Mogadishu who originally escaped war in Ethiopia reportedly feeding on grass and leaves. There is a humanitarian disaster that calls for immediate international attention here. The lives of millions are at stake; aid agencies are unable to penetrate war zones to reach the suffering; blood is being shed mindlessly; millions are dying of starvation; rains have made roads impassable; there is an outbreak of contagious diseases; fleeing migrants loaded onto ramshackle boats are perishing at sea enmasse; pirates are wrecking havoc along the coasts and in shipping lanes thus disrupting international trade; and above all arms shipments arrive on a daily basis without control.
The leaders of the region have gone into protracted political coma while their poor citizens perish indiscriminately from natural phenomenons and artificial creations. With no industries and agriculture, coupled with natural hazards like deluges, soil erosion, shortage of rains, locust invasions, maladies, and other factors, the rate of human decimation has entered a dangerous precedent.
Factors that will slow down concerted human efforts in the fight against hunger and HIV/AIDS in the Horn of Africa include: Horn of Africa's ineptitude leadership, the American election fever, and the war between Russia and Georgia. Until then, peaceful expectations will remain at a low ebb.