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Somalia's Humanitarian Crisis

Steve Scher
05/16/2008 at 9:00 a.m.

Food prices explode and people riot; troops shoot two dead. Amnesty International reports government troops, their Ethiopian allies, and their Islamist enemies are all brutally attacking civilians in Somalia. The UN says more than a third of Somalis rely on food aid to survive. The country hasn't had a functioning government since 1991. In the past two years, Ethiopia and the United States have gotten involved in a power struggle between the official government and the Islamist group that controls much of the country. We get an update on the crisis and check in with members of the local Somalian community.

Mohammed Olad Hassan reports for the Associated Press and the BBC. He joins us from Mogadishu.
Lynn Fredriksson is Africa advocacy director with Amnesty International USA.
Frederick Michael Lorenz is a senior lecturer at the University of Washington's Jackson School of Internation Studies. He's a retired Marine Corps Colonel. He was the senior legal advisor for the United Nations military intervention in Somalia in 1992, and legal advisor for the UN evacuation in 1995. He is a Senior Peace Fellow with the Public International Law and Policy Group, which is working on a project in Somalia.
Jamal Gabobe is head of the Somaliland Society, a social services agency on Beacon Hill in Seattle. He is a poet and PhD student in comparative literature at the University of Washington, and is writing his dissertation on the Somali poet Ilmi Bodhari. He has lived in Seattle since 1978.

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