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Number of attacks on aid workers in Somalia increases

Number of attacks on aid workers in Somalia increases


Attacks on aid workers delivering supplies in Somalia almost doubled in 2015, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The number rose to 140 last year from 75 in 2014, the world body said.

“Attacks and threats against humanitarians increased,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a bulletin, adding that there were also 18 injuries, 11 abductions and 38 arrests in 2015 involving aid agency staff.

The Islamist militant group al Shabaab has waged a decade-long insurgency against the Somali government, which is backed by African Union troops.

Warring parties have deliberately targeted aid workers and manipulated aid for political gain.

Fighting, poor infrastructure and funding shortages make it difficult to reach the 40 percent of Somalia’s 12 million people needing aid, OCHA said.

Some parts of south-central Somalia are only accessible by air, driving up the cost of delivering essentials like food.

African Union troops have taken major towns from al Shabaab but the group still controls swathes of countryside and has laid siege to urban areas.

“Non-state armed actors continued to impose bans on commercial activities in some areas in Bakool, Bay, Gedo and Hiraan regions, thereby disrupting the delivery of humanitarian supplies and basic commercial commodities,” the U.N. said.