Aid agencies ‘paid Somalia’s al-Shabab’ during famine
Somalia is one of the most dangerous environments in the world for aid workers and
humanitarian organisations. A formidable obstacle to reaching people in need of
humanitarian assistance is the militant group Al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab’s sophisticated
system for monitoring aid, the demands placed on aid agencies and the consequences
of failed negotiations are revealed in this research.
Drawn from over 80 interviews with former Al-Shabaab officials, aid workers and
civilians, this research details difficulties faced by aid agencies attempting to
operate in Al-Shabaab controlled areas during the 2011 famine. Al-Shabaab’s
Humanitarian Coordination Office forced aid agencies to complete registration forms
and other documentation that laid out general conditions for access, with
negotiations with the militant group also resulting in payments of registration fees
(as much as $10,000). The consequences for breaking the rules were extreme: outright
hostility, expulsions, attacks and harassment.
Download the full report here