Will foreign raid complicate Somalia relief?

Women and children walk along the side of a road in Somalia. The African Union Mission in Somalia has captured several towns from the rebel group operating in the country last year. Ongoing instability in Somalia makes delivery of aid in the country difficult. Photo by: Stuart Price / UN

Britain announced plans to host another Somalia donor conference, just hours before a botched attempt by the French military to free a rebel-held hostage threatened to further complicate relief efforts in the conflict-ridden African nation.

The U.K. and Somali governments will co-host the conference on May 7 to gather more international support for Somalia’s development. This gathering builds on a similar event held in London last February.

The failed rescue mission with “limited” help from the United States, meanwhile, was condemned by the Somali government as a unilateral action; it led to the capture of a French soldier and the death of another along with 17 militants. Denis Allex, the French hostage whose capture prompted the rescue mission, is also believed to be dead.

The ongoing instability in Somalia continues to hamper aid work there but the country remains a priority for several donors including the European Union and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is also eager to deepen development ties with foreign allies. The president has visited Ethiopia, Sudan, Turkey and other countries since September and he left Jan.13 for a trip to the United States to strengthen Somalia’s bilateral relations with the donor country.

Also on Jan.11, the International Organization for Migration announced a €1 million boost for its efforts to help internally displaced Somalis. The year-long package from the government of France will be used to provide basic services to thousands of vulnerable IDPs in Mogadishu and other host communities.

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About the author

  • Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a former staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.