Photo by Tim Sloan via Getty Images

Somali Americans Advocate in Washington D.C.

Around 200 Somali Americans gathered at the U.S. State Department to advocate for peace following the fatal clashes in Somaliland.

Over 200 Somali-American protesters from across the United States gathered at the U.S. State Department on Friday to advocate for peace after three weeks of clashes in Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland left over 100 dead and about 500 people severely injured.

According to Voice of America, one of the protesters stated that Somaliland could not forcefully rule.

"It is forbidden to kill the innocents, the children, elders, or women. Somaliland cannot rule by force. We will not allow Muse Bihi to kill innocent people," said one of the protesters, Abdirashid Mohamed Farah.

In the past, Faisal Ali Warabe, the current presidential candidate for the Republic of Somaliland also called out Bihi.

"It is clear that Muse Bihi is determined not to leave the presidency and plans to stay on as long as he wishes. I am telling you, the people of Somaliland, that Muse is pursuing his personal interest, not the national interest.” Warabe said at the time.

This year, Warabe kept the same tune when he shared a tweet disagreeing with the Somaliland leader’s politics.

“I feel very sad the senseless war continuing in Lasanod, Warabe tweeted. “The crisis of Lassanood is one of the immense problems in the country created by Musa.The country is on the brink of collapse and becoming the hub of extremists. I appeal President Musa to step down to save Somaliland.”

Armed with banners and placards, Somali-Americans didn’t relent as they gathered to spread awareness and show support for the victims of the mass violence in Las Anod, the administrative capital of the Sool region in Somaliland.

Last week, Bihi announced that he would be sending clan leaders to work towards de-escalating the violence. However, according to Voice of America, the clan elders in the region demanded that Somaliland pull out its troops before any dialogue could ensue.

During the demonstration, Voice of America reported that Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi, Somalia’s former minister of fisheries marine resources, said that the people of Las Anod were suffering.

“We are from 15 states in the U.S. and Canada. We are here to tell Somalis and the United States government that we want to express our feelings and show solidarity with the innocent people of Las Anod,” Abdi said. “We call for the United States to pressure Somaliland to cease the hostility.”

Photo Credit: Tony Karumba

UN Says Somalia Is Facing Its Worst Famine in Years

According to the United Nations, Somalian children are currently being admitted for medical treatment for malnutrition every minute in the East African country.

The United Nations recently shared that Somalia is facing severe famine. And, as a result, the organization will be setting a new target of over $2 billion in funding needed to tackle the issue. The UN says that Somalia has not experienced a famine of this magnitude in over half a century.

In a conversation with reporters, James Elder, a UNICEF spokesperson, said that the situation is dire and is showing no sign of getting better in the near future.

"Things are bad, and every sign indicates that they are going to get worse. Without greater action and investment, we are facing the death of children on a scale not seen in half a century," Elder said.

Earlier this year, Elder spoke to the media about the growing concerns of Somali children suffering from malnutrition.

Earlier reports noted that about 500,000 Somali children under the age of five were expected to experience extreme levels of malnutrition and face the risk of death. Elder also said that nutritional resources centers across Somalia were already at their maximum capacity and could not accommodate more children.

"We've got more than half a million children facing preventable death. It's a pending nightmare," said Elder at the time, during a Geneva news briefing. "You've got critically ill children who, without treatment, may die in a matter of hours."

Following a string of consecutive failed rainy seasons, crops and livestock have been adversely affected, and this has thrown the country further into the depths of extreme hunger.

Elder saidElder said that although Somalia has faced similar hardships in the past, this is beyond what happened in the past.

"When people speak of the crisis facing Somalia today, it has become common for frightful comparisons to be made with the famine of 2011 when 260,000 people died," Elder said. "However, everything I am hearing on the ground — from nutritionists to pastoralists — is that things today actually look worse. In 2011, after three failed rains, the affected population was half of what it is now, and the overall conditions — rain and harvest — were on the mend. Today, it's been four failed rains, the forecast for the fifth rains is looking pretty grim, and the affected population is twice the size of 2011."

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