Since January 2010, at least 964 civilians have been killed and 2,717 wounded in armed conflicts or in random shootings in residential neighborhoods, as reported by the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP). “While the atrocious attack by Islamic rebels in which members of the Somali parliament were killed kindles outrage around world, the daily suffering of the civilian population in Somalia attracts hardly any attention,” notes Ulrich Delius, head of the Africa section at the STP on Tuesday in Göttingen. “The level of indifference displayed by the international community in the face of systematic violations of international humanitarian law in Somalia is shocking.”
In just one week, from 17 to 23 August, 2010, forty-six civilians were killed and 162 bystanders wounded in fighting between militia and regular soldiers in and around the Somali capital. Today, six Somali MPs and numerous civilians were slain by Al Shabab militants in a terrorist attack on a hotel in Mogadishu.
“It has become a part of everyday life for the people of Somalia that warring factions systematically violate internationally recognized rules for the protection of civilians. Residential areas are regularly fired on with grenades, humanitarian aid workers are kidnapped or murdered, aid convoys are attacked,” said Delius. “We cannot continue to forsake Somalia’s civilian population: The international community must actively demand an end to the violence in Somalia, or at the very least push for compliance with the basic rules stipulated by international humanitarian law.”
Translated by Elizabeth Crawford