Six people were shot dead in a food distribution line in Mogadishu, Somalia on Thursday.
It has been reported that people were shot by a soldier who retaliated after an incident whereby people, who had been waiting for hours in food aid lines rushed guards and began amassing food.
One witness told the AP, “There was a food distribution and some refugees ran off with packages and small sacks of food. There was too much blood on the sand, like a slaughterhouse.”
The witness said he saw five dead bodies.
This is not the first deadly shooting over food aid to occur in Mogadishu since the famine began to rip through the country impacting 4 million people.
The famine situation in Somalia is becoming increasingly worse. Earlier this week the United Nations declared a sixth famine zone in the country and Somalia is witnessing record rates of malnutrition among its youth.
Due to the lack of security and access for humanitarian aid groups in al-Shabaab controlled territories, the majority of aid distribution is concentrated in Mogadishu, causing a massive strain in providing humanitarian assistance within the capital due to the influx of IDP’s from the south.
Furthermore, due to the difficulty in reaching people in the south by humanitarian workers, the crisis is becoming steadily worse and is also causing a mass exodus of Somalis into neighboring Kenya.
In an attempt to deal with the crisis through the Horn of Africa, a two-day summit began on Thursday at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi.
At the summit, Somali Prime Minister, Abidweli Mohamed Ali, spoke to delegates of the multi-pronged humanitarian catastrophe that is happening on the ground in his country.
Ali urged delegates to help Somalia recover stability saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, Somalia has taken great steps on the road to lasting peace, but as noted earlier, no nation can do this by itself. Though we are grateful for the support of fellow African countries within the AU, and that of the international community at large, more, in terms of men and equipment will be required if we are to completely eliminate the extremist threat.”
Somali leaders commenced this past Sunday in a new bid to wage peace in the country. Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991 and civil war, political bickering, and constant attacks by al-Shabaab rebels have beset the government from functioning and protecting its citizens and have compounded to make Somalia the worst impacted nation in the Horn of Africa crisis.