Conflict & Justice

Somalia: Providing Humanitarian Aid on al-Shabab's Turf

African Union troops in Somalia have launched a major assault on the Islamist group al-Shabab. Al-Shabab controls larges swathes of Somalia. It's unclear just how much. But this week the jihadi group announced that it had merged operations with the al-Qaeda militants currently operating in the country.

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Doctors without Borders is one of the few aid groups that works in areas of Somalia controlled by al-Shabab. The aid group has just released a new book about the complexities of that sort of work. It's called: Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed.

Duncan Mclean helps manage the group's work in Somalia. He says that the hospital Doctors Without Borders operates on the outskirts of Mogadishu treats any injured individual, including al-Shabab fighters.

"A certain degree of that aid that we're providing will be used for other ends than what we intended it to be," Mclean said. "And it would be naïve to consider otherwise, to maintain this idealistic image of aid work."

In the middle of last year, Doctors without Borders decided to suspend its operations in the Mogadishu area because of demands by al-Shabab, including demands for money. Mclean helped negotiate the group's return.

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    Duncan Mclean, Doctors without Borders (Photo: MSF)

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    Duncan Mclean, Doctors without Borders (Photo: MSF)

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    ITFC Mogadishu, Hodan District (quartier de Hodan, Mogadiscio): Brigitte Doppler, MSF expat.

    Credit:

    Yann Libessart