Somalia: UN report: Much of Somalia's food aid diverted
2010-03-12Much of the food aid intended for Somalia's poor is diverted to corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local U.N. workers, according to a Security Council report.
The findings, not yet made public, were first reported by The New York Times Tuesday.
A UN diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the report has not yet been released, confirmed to the Associated Press that "a significant diversion" of food delivered by the UN food program is being diverted to cartels who were selling it illegally.
The report blames the problem on improper food distribution, the diplomat said.
The Times said the report recommends Secretary General Ban Ki-moon open an independent investigation into the World Food Program's Somalia operations.
The report also found regional Somali authorities to be collaborating with pirates and says that government ministers have auctioned off diplomatic visas, the Times reports.
According to the newspaper, Somali officials deny the visa problem is widespread.
Somalia's government, with U.S. military aid, is readying a military offensive to combat an Islamist insurgency linked to al-Qaida and retake Mogadishu, the nation's largely lawless capital.
But the report has found security forces "remain ineffective, disorganized and corrupt," which will likely make the fight a difficult one, according to the Times.