How terrorists skim aid funds in Somalia

Feb 13, 2018 by

CNN’s Sam Kiley investigates how Somali terror group Al-Shabaab syphons funds from aid sent to Somalia to fight famine and drought.

It is no secret that there have been repeated, large-scale sexual exploitation scandals involving UN peacekeeping forces in Congo, Central African Republic and Liberia since the mid 2000s, often cited as the “sex-for-food affair.”

Nevertheless, many people are shocked by the revelations published in the Times of London that civilian aid workers for Oxfam engaged in similar practices, and that the organization allegedly “covered up” the incidents.

They should not be shocked. And they would not be if the aid sector hadn’t benefited for so long from an immunity to examination and criticism, an immunity akin to that which was once enjoyed in the Western world by the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

Of course, there have been some whistleblowings and exposés of emergency-aid wrongdoing and failure over the years, not least the books “Road to Hell” by the former aid worker Michael Maren, and “War Games” by the Dutch foreign correspondent Linda Polman. Her book even refers to “aid workers who cared for child soldiers and war orphans by day and relaxed by night in the arms of child prostitutes.”

But the powerful public relations machine of large, publicly subsidized mega-charities like Oxfam — which lobby in the UK and elsewhere for ever greater government aid budgets — has until now been able to maintain the reputation and economic interests of what critics call the Aid Industry.

Both the charges and the apparent coverup reflect deep cultural problems within the aid industry in general and the mega-charities and large international aid agencies in particular.

Anyone who has spent time working in or reporting from war zones and disaster areas has likely encountered bad behavior in the NGO community. I’m not simply referring to the blowing off of steam — the drink- or drug-assisted partying and in-house sexual shenanigans to be encountered in NGO watering holes from Kabul to Kinshasa.

These are inevitable and even necessary in the high-stress, often dangerous places where emergency aid work is carried out. Rather more dismaying — and surprising for people whose only knowledge of aid work comes from golden-hued industry marketing — is the sheer toxicity of the work environment in many NGOs: the bullying, the exploitation of local workers, the arrogant mistreatment of the people the organizations are supposed to be helping.

Read here


Related Posts


Share This