By Collins Wanzala in Nairobi.
United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell on Monday, January 30 led a group of British officials on a visit the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Northern Somalia.
Mitchel was warmly received by several Puntland Ministers as he arrived at Conoco Airport in Garower town and his visit becomes the first of its kind for a British minister to visit the region, which separated from the lawless larger Somalia several years ago.
During his visit he held a closed door meeting with Vice-President Abdisamed Ali Shire and a number of ministers. Their talks were reported to have been based on the upcoming London conference, the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia and United Kingdom’s development projects in Puntland. Mitchell said that his visit will mark the beginning of a series of visits by United Kingdom officials to the region.
Meanwhile, the Al-Shabaab terror group on Monday banned the International Committee of the Red Cross from the areas it controls in Somalia. They claimed in a statement that the aid organization had been distributing outdated food to people in Somalia and accusing Mujahedeen group of preventing them from delivering fresh food to the populace a claim they said after investigating it fully found it to be a lie.
Al-Shabaab’s ban to the International aid organization will have serious negative implication to the Somali people especially in Southern and Central Somalia as they are the major areas they control and the United Nations has said in its recent report that the Southern area of Somalia is hard hit by famine and has over a quarter million people faced with starvation.
And as the Islamist terror group was issuing a ban on the distribution of food by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the troubled Somalia, the country`s Ambassador in the neighboring Kenya Mohamed Ali Noor has urged Somali medical practitioners in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi to help fellow Somalis in Dadaab refugee camp which is the world’s largest refugee camp situated in northern Kenya.
The ambassador made the remarks in a statement send to newsrooms after meeting the Union of Somali medical practitioners in Kenya at his Nairobi office on Tuesday morning. He said Somali refugees in Dadaab are currently facing appalling conditions since medical staffs that used to operate in these camps have already left the area due to security concerns.
Noor promised these medics that their expenses will be catered for by the Somali embassy in Nairobi if they will deliver their services to these refugees, urging them to stand up and save the lives of fellow Somalis in these camps. The medics welcomed the ambassador’s call to help Somali refugees in Dadaab, promising that they will deliver their services to the needy people in the camps.