Somalia: the martyrdom of the innocents

After twenty years of civil war, nearly 260,000 people died during the famine that hit Somalia from 2010 to 2012. Half of them were children under the age of five, says a report by the UN and the US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fews Net). Thousands other Somalians, most of them children and babies, suffered from severe malnutrition and dehydration. Victims flooded hospitals and camps in Mogadishu. In fact, the city itself looked like a giant refugee camp.
Yet those who made it to Mogadishu were the fortunate ones. Many more others lived in regions controlled by al-Shabab, the Islamist insurgents, who imposed draconian restrictions to aid delivery and moved starving families back into famine zones they had fled. Mogadishu was far from being a safe haven. Camps and hospitals, where foreign aid workers provided medical care, were at permanent risk of being attacked.