The United States is extremely concerned by al-Shabaab’s announcement yesterday that it is banning a number of United Nations (UN) agencies and international nongovernmental organizations from providing life-saving assistance in south central Somalia and by its seizure of offices, property and equipment belonging to these organizations. We join the UN Secretary General and the UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief in condemning these actions in the strongest possible terms.
Al-Shabaab’s actions put at even greater risk the lives of the four million people in Somalia who remain in need of emergency assistance and the 250,000 of those who are suffering from ongoing famine.
The only purpose of the humanitarian organizations working in Somalia is to save lives. We join the international community in calling upon all parties to respect international humanitarian principles and immediately allow these organizations full and unhindered access to all who require emergency assistance in Somalia.