Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is it too late too little as Al-Shabaab lifts aid ban?

July 6 - Popaganga is a very powerful tool and that is what the extremist group Al-Shabaab seems to have mastered. Unfortunately, their propagandist manouvers sometimes goes beyond reasonable logic.

Tens of thousands of Somalis are langusihing in drought-stricken areas controlled by the extremist group and it has taken the group months to realize they had made a huge blunder.

On Tuesday evening the group sought to clear their name from any blame by announcing what they have done for the poor people as well as calling upon humanitarian agencies to help alleviate the suffering of the mostly rural peasants and nomadic population affected by the hard-hitting drought which is fast wiping everything it in its wake. across.

In a bid to redeem their public image, Al-Shabaab has now urged aid agencies to come forward and assist the affected populations. This comes after months of refusing the same aid agencies they often referred to as "INFIDELS" access to help mitigate effects of the prolonged drought that has now started claiming the lives of emaciated victims located across almost the entire south and central regions of Somalia.

Even this time round they tied the appeal with a condition saying they would only allow aid agencies without "a hidden agenda" as if their baseless claim for previously denying access to the much needed life saving interventions by humanitarian organizations was anything to go by.

Is the latest Al-Shabaab move too little too late?

Saving any human being is always a noble mission. The only regret is their unfounded crackdown on denying affected populations their rightful assistance when they needed it most.

It's never too late to come to the rescue of a dying population, especially those facing a drought of the same magnitude as that in Somalia where the food prices are said to have rised by over 200 percent as a result of lack of rains in the worst drought to have hit teh country for the past 10 years.

The drought situation is said to be so serious that children and the elderly have started dying from starvation-related complications with over 1500 people crossing on daily basis into the already overflowing refugee camps in Kenyan.

The latest decision by the extremists group to finally allow humanitarian agencies access to the affected regions is welcome. However, the access must be unhindred and safety of the aid workers must be guaranteed given that Al-Shabaab is known to have killed aid workers before.

Let us hope the extremists have learnt their lessons, although past experiences has shown that the group never learns from past mistakes.