Terrorist Groups Block Africa Famine Relief

by | Aug 3, 2011 | Charisma Archive

FamineWhile almost 13 million people are on
the brink of starvation in the Horn of Africa, relief agencies are
frustrated that they may be unable to help those most desperate. It’s
not because they don’t have the food. It’s because terrorist groups
linked to al-Qaeda are preventing the aid from getting there.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs
says Somalia is the biggest challenge. “The al-Shabaab militant
terrorist group has made it a stated goal to completely rid the country
of Christians. They literally are hunting down Christians, and anyone
who is thought to be Christian or rumored to be a Christian is a
potential target.”

Well-known Christian aid groups have been forced out of the country in
areas where al-Shabaab cell groups are in power. Nettleton says:
“There’s so much lawlessness. And in the midst of that, you have so many
people who are starving to death. But the reality for someone who
identifies themselves as a Christian to go in: they really paint a
target on their back just to go into the country.”

While VOM isn’t a famine-relief organization, they are helping Christians who are struggling there.

Despite the threats, World Concern
is working there, says Chris Shaech. He just returned from an area
along the border of Somalia and Kenya where Somalis are trying to get
out of rebel-held areas. “We met refugees traveling out of the
hardest-hit areas of [Africa’s Horn]—some of them [walking] up to 250
miles on foot just to try and find food and water for their families.”

Sheach says it’s always difficult working in a conflict zone, and in
this case, “it’s heart-breaking knowing that people who are really
suffering and dying cannot receive any aid. The only way they can get
aid is to walk.”

Many of them physically can’t do it. For those that can, “some of them
travel at night to increase their own safety; but they do run the risk
of being attacked by lions and other wild animals.”

Since World Concern is a Christian organization, they’re doing
everything they can to aid those in need. “Where we have permission and
where we have the capacity, we will continue to reach the people who are
needy and try to get into areas wherever possible.”

While they’re helping those who are hungry physically, they’re also
reaching those who are hungry spiritually. “There can be opportunities
to talk about our faith. One of the important things for us is that our
faith is not just in word, but in deed.”

The United
Nations says the crisis will worsen before it gets better. Pray that
God will protect those working in these difficult areas and that many
will support their work financially.

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