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Somalia

Yearbook 2011

Somalia. According to Countryaah official site, Somalia suffered its most severe drought and famine disaster for many decades during the year. Only in June did the world start to take on the data seriously, but by then 135,000 Somalis had already been forced to leave their homes to seek help in neighboring countries or areas not yet hit so hard. About half of the children who managed to cross the border were severely malnourished, aid workers reported.

2011 Somalia

The relief efforts inside Somalia were made more difficult by the ongoing war between the weak government and Islamist militia al-Shabab, which also banned foreign aid organizations in areas it controlled. By the beginning of July, however, the crisis had reached such proportions that al-Shabab pleaded for help and promised foreign personnel free rein. The UN managed to bring in supplies of emergency aid to militarily controlled areas before al-Shabab, after a few weeks, seemed to change its position and again declared foreign efforts unwelcome. The Islamists now also denied that there would be famine in their areas.

The relief efforts were somewhat facilitated since the army, with the help of the African Union's international force, was able to drive al-Shabab out of the capital Mogadishu in early August. In November, the UN found that the famine-stricken area could have been limited geographically, but that a quarter of a million people were still in an emergency.

Although the government extended its influence to the whole of Mogadishu, large parts of central and southern Somalia remained in al-Shabab's hands. There was no possibility for the government to take control of the entire country. The mandate of the Provisional Parliament and the Transitional Government would have expired in 2011, but they decided in February on their own initiative, and against the recommendations of the outside world, to extend their activities for three years. Following strong objections from the UN and donors, a settlement of only one year's extension was reached and general elections would be held before August 20, 2012. A "roadmap" for a new government was adopted in September with promises of increased security in Mogadishu, national reconciliation and political reforms.. How this would be achieved was unclear.

In connection with the one-year extension of the current regime, the government was reformed and a new Prime Minister took office, US-trained Abdiweli Mohamed Ali. He most recently came from the post of Deputy Prime Minister but still had relatively limited political experience.

The notorious Somali pirates continued to hijack ships and take crews hostage. Far away in Asia, the waters were uncertain. Former French Minister of Culture and Education Jack Lang, who on the UN's mission investigated the piracy problem, wanted to see more vigorous efforts against the dozens of known clan leaders who lead the operation. He also suggested that a prison be built under Somali jurisdiction but placed in another country, where captured pirates can be sentenced and imprisoned. Today, hundreds of Somali pirates are being held in prisons in dozens of countries. During the year, long prison sentences were sentenced against Somali men in, for example, the United States and Spain. A Danish family of five people plus two Danish crewmen were hijacked in early March when they were on a ground-round sail.

Two Swedes of Somali origin who in 2010 were sentenced to four years in Gothenburg for stamping terrorist offenses were acquitted in March by the High Court of Western Sweden, which found that the evidence against them did not hold.

In October, southern Somalia was invaded by units from Kenya's army after four Europeans were robbed of Kenyan land and taken to Somalia. It was thought that Kenya wanted to drive al-Shabab out of the border area and possibly add some sort of sound regime in southern Somalia to secure its northeastern border.

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