Somalia

Suicide bombings in Somaliland threaten humanitarian assistance

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Nairobi, Kenya - Refugees International (RI) expressed grave concern today over the multiple suicide bomb attacks in Hargeisa, Somaliland and the implications this violence will have on the provision of international assistance in the region. RI is particularly disturbed over the targeting of a United Nations compound, which echoes a pattern of attacks on the UN in the southern part of Somalia in recent months.

"Today's attacks are a distressing reminder of the volatility of the security situation in all of Somalia. We are concerned that the violence in south central Somalia is spreading to surrounding regions, as Somaliland has been relatively immune from this kind of violence in recent years," said Refugees International advocate Patrick Duplat who is currently in the region. "These attacks underscore the need for the U.S. and UN to prioritize desperately needed humanitarian assistance over their narrow political agenda."

While details of the attack are still emerging, Refugees International is concerned that these bombings represent a geographical extension of the conflict raging in the south and central part of the country. The timing of the bombing seems to be related to the meeting in Nairobi of the InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) contact group, which aims to further the peace process led by the international community. The peace process has been opposed by several armed groups in Somalia.

"Somaliland is host to several thousand internally displaced people. This attack will lead to increased security measures for international organizations which will hamper their ability to provide lifesaving assistance," said Refugees International Advocate Jacob Kurtzer.

Advocates Patrick Duplat and Jacob Kurtzer recently conducted a mission to Hargeisa from October 25 to October 28. While in Hargeisa, RI met with non-governmental organizations, Somaliland ministry officials, UN agencies and displaced Somalis to assess the humanitarian conditions. There are approximately 1.1 million internally displaced people in Somalia and over 400,000 Somali refugees in neighboring countries.

Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises. For more information, go to http://www.refugeesinternational.org.

Contacts:

Patrick Duplat (Nairobi), patrick@refintl.org

Megan Fowler (Washington), +1 202-828-0110 x214; megan@refintl.org