The United States government recently acknowledged the presence of over 100 military advisors who have been secretly operating in Somalia since 2007. While they are not engaged in combat missions, they have routinely assisted the Somali government by providing their tactical expertise in the Somali effort to combat Islamist militants. Those militants comprise al Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization which most notably claimed responsibility for the September 2013 attack on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya which resulted in 67 deaths.
The African Union Mission in Somalia currently has 22,000 troops stationed in Somalia from various African countries and the United States has stated its intent to aid soldiers of the Somali National Army. However, Somalia is far from a stable country. On July 8 al Shabaab militants attacked Somali’s presidential palace in Mogadishu. They used a car bomb to blast open the gates and then proceeded onto the grounds. Their attack was eventually thwarted by Somali and AMISOM troops but the threat of violence in the nation’s capital still looms.
Despite the various armed conflicts taking place throughout the country, Somalia is faced with another pressing issue: the Somali food crisis. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recently disclosed the possibility of a worsening food crisis in Somalia. This crisis would be the result of a predicted water shortage following a lackluster rain season earlier this year, rising food prices in urban areas and dwindling humanitarian assistance in the country.
The food agency also acknowledged the presence of acute malnutrition in Mogadishu which requires intensified humanitarian aid over the coming months. The displaced populace in areas like Mogadishu where armed violence has become regular has served to exacerbate the food crisis. While it is clear that the Somali government is finally receiving the military aid it needs, the food aid it also requires has not yet occurred.
— Taylor Dow