UN chief visits a safer Somali capital
In the first visit of a UN Secretary General since 1993, Ban Ki-moon promised aid and military support, but warned Somali leaders they must stick to reform pledges.
Eighteen years later, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon found an altogether warmer welcome during his surprise visit there last week. Security officials still insisted that he wear a bulletproof vest, and he was sped through the city’s wrecked streets in a convoy of armored personnel carriers.
But the mere fact that such a high-profile figure was able to visit what is still considered the world’s most dangerous capital is testament to what one analyst called the “dramatic improvements” in security there in recent months.
The country’s famine situation, although still dire with a quarter of a million people facing imminent starvation, is slowly improving, thanks to a massive international aid response during the last six months.
Pirate attacks off Somalia’s coast dropped by two-thirds in November compared to the same month last year, European naval officials reported last week.