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UN says food security in Somalia unlikely to improve before 2018

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Food and nutrition security situation in Somalia is not likely to improve before the end of the year or January 2018, the UN humanitarian agency said on Tuesday.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called for donor commitments to help improve the situation, citing preliminary assessment results by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) .

“Severe drought is expected to continue to deepen till the start of the next rainy season in October and an improvement in the food security and nutrition situation is not likely before December/January,” the UN said.

The OCHA said in its humanitarian drought response report that while famine has been averted so far, thanks to critical investments early in the year, drought conditions are expected to continue to deepen till the start of next rainy season in October.

“Reprieve from the effects of prolonged drought will however persist till early next year when improvements in the food security and nutrition situation is expected to start being felt,” it said.

Somalia is in the midst of a drought after rains failed in November 2016, for a third year in the row. Humanitarians in Somalia are calling for donor commitments to reach the most vulnerable with life-saving assistance.

“The momentum in new donor contributions has been declining. New donor commitments per month have declined from about 258 million U.S. dollars in March to 26 million dollars by end of June,” the OCHA said.

“This is likely to affect continuity of response till the end of the year. Despite ongoing response, humanitarian needs far exceed available resources,” it said.

The UN estimates that at least 100 million dollars is required per month to sustain current levels of response.

The April-to-June “Gu” rainy season was late and shorter than normal, and generally poor in most of the country and the temporal distribution was erratic.



At least five Somali security officers killed during infighting

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least five Somali government forces including a senior security officer were killed and two others injured when infighting broke out among the security officers in Mogadishu on Wednesday.

The fighting broke out between the military and National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) at a military checkpoint near the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

Minister of Defense of Somalia, Abdirashid Abdulahi Mohamed confirmed the incident, saying the government has launched investigation to establish the cause of the deadly gunfire that also resulted in the death of an intelligence officer.

“I can confirm that five NISA and SNA (military) soldiers died and two others injured in an incident here in Mogadishu today due to suspicion between the two sides. A senior security officer is among those killed in Mogadishu,” Mohamed told journalists.

He said that the government has set up a committee which will investigate how the incident happened.

Sources said the fighting erupted after the military soldiers denied access to a convoy carrying former Benadir Intelligence chief Isse Jiljile to the main street for unknown reasons.

The dispute later sparked a deadly gunfight that left the senior intelligence officer and some of his bodyguards dead.

The latest incident comes barely three months after Somali Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction, Abbas Abdulahi Siraji was shot down by Somali government soldiers at the same scene.


UN mission seeks views on traditional justice for women in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United Nations mission in Somalia has kicked off a series of consultative meetings across Somalia to seek views on the traditional justice system and how it hinders women’s access to justice.

The UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said in a statement on Wednesday that the meetings which started in the southern Somalia brought together local women leaders, government officials and civil society representatives focusing on the challenges women face in accessing justice and also addressed proposals for reforms.

“The idea was to give women space to express how they feel about the traditional justice system and whether it protects women’s rights or not,” said Virginie Blanchard, a Judicial Affairs Officer from the UNSOM Rule of Law and Security Institutions Group (ROLSIG) which convened the meetings.

“They identified practices that they don’t want to accept any more. Like, for example, the fact that in the traditional justice system, a young girl will be given as compensation to another clan in case of murder,” Blanchard added.

The UN official said the two meetings held in Baidoa and Kismayo identified concrete steps that women can take to achieve better representation within the country’s formal and traditional judicial systems.

Speaking at the forum in Kismayo, Abshira Qamis Ismail, the Chairperson of the Kismaayo Women’s Cooperation organization, attributed the obstacles facing women to a lack of female representation in the formal and traditional justice sectors. She added that these challenges had been compounded by ignorance about the law.

“We don’t have women to whom we can report our cases. We don’t have female elders to whom we can tell our private issues. We don’t have women to address the problems we face,” Abshira said.

Farhiya Ahmed Abdi, an officer of the Somali Police Force told a forum in Baidoa that traditional elders prefer to resolve cases regarding the abuse of women outside the formal courts - where cases are adjudicated more quickly - and within the traditional justice system instead, where most male perpetrators go unpunished.

“Every day we receive cases of women who are physically abused and tortured by their husbands. The challenge we face is that whenever we arrest the man and present the cases to courts for prosecution, traditional elders go to the courts and interfere with the cases,” Abdi said.



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