The top United Nations official in Somalia today condemned the car bombing which left an estimated 13 people dead and many more injured in Mogadishu, the capital, amid a precarious humanitarian situation in the rest of the country.
“I condemn last night’s appalling terrorist attack against innocent civilians in Mogadishu resulting in numerous casualties,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay.
For decades, Somalia has been riven by factional fighting and the recent spread of religious fanaticism in the guise of Al-Shabaab has only added to the beleaguered country’s woes.
In 2012, new Somali national institutions emerged as the country ended a transitional phase toward setting up a permanent, democratically-elected Government. Meanwhile, the Somali National Army (SNA) and the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have been pursuing a renewed offensive against Al-Shabaab insurgents, who in 2011 were forced to retreat from the capital, Mogadishu.
The UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), which Mr. Kay leads, was established in 2013 by the UN Security Council. It is mandated to support the Federal Government of Somalia with its peace and state building agenda and to strengthen Somalia's security sector, promote respect for human rights and women's empowerment and assist in the coordination of international assistance.
“The use of such indiscriminate tactics against the Somali people is a cruel and despicable crime. I commend the swift response of Somalia’s security and medical staff. The perpetrators need to be brought to justice swiftly,” added Mr. Kay.
At the same time, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Philippe Lazzarini, voiced extreme concern over the unfolding humanitarian crisis in southern, central and north-eastern Somalia where numerous communities remain “desperately” in need of water, food and healthcare.
“The humanitarian operation in Somalia requires urgent scale-up,” Mr. Lazzarini said in a press statement. “We are in a race against time to save lives in areas stricken by drought and conflict.”
The humanitarian coordinator noted that aid workers could reach affected areas despite the numerous challenges and persisting insecurity but urged the international community to drastically ramp up its financial assistance for the country.
“Despite competing crises in the world today, not responding to the humanitarian situation in Somalia is not an option,” Mr. Lazzarini continued.
“Critical funding is needed today to expand operations. Funding pipelines for food security, nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene services must be increased without delay.”