RESOURCE: Hostages of the Gatekeepers

Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Human Rights Watch
Eastern Africa

The new government of Somalia plans to relocate tens of thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) within Mogadishu this year. Many of these people had arrived in the war-torn capital in 2011 as a result of a devastating famine that provoked widespread displacement. The famine was caused by unrelenting drought, ongoing insecurity and fighting, the blocking of civilian access to humanitarian assistance, and increasing “taxation” of resources and livestock by the armed Islamist group al-Shabaab in south-central Somalia. Although there is no accurate death toll, tens of thousands of people are believed to have died as a result of the famine. Hundreds of thousands of people fled into neighboring countries and the United Nations estimates that more than 75,000 IDPs arrived in Mogadishu within the space of nine months in 2011. Instead of finding refuge and the humanitarian assistance they urgently needed, many displaced people encountered a hostile and abusive environment in Mogadishu.

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Human Rights Watch Report: Hostages of the Gatekeepers March 2013