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Galmudug Issues Warning to Aid Agencies
By ABDIQANI DEEQ 07/04/2012
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The Galmudug administration in central Somalia has issued a warning to aid agencies operating in the region, particularly those working in Galkayo, the capital of Galmudug.

The chairman of the Galmudug administration Mr. Max'ud Nuur Gulled, along with other officials, warned aid agencies against holding unauthorized meetings with locals, and indicated that they have gone beyond their mandate. The officials further added that such actions would not be accepted or tolerated.

"We strongly condemn the activities of the aid agencies in our territory. We cannot accept these groups interfering with our internal affairs," the chairman said in a press conference in Galkayo.

The chairman said that any agency that does not meet the required condition of registration, which will authorize and legalize their activities, will be banned and suspended.

The agencies that were were warned include two United Nations agencies, the World Food Programme (UNWFP) and UNICEF, as well as two other nongovernmental aid agencies, namely SOFPA and Relief International.

Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan, the assistant health minister of Galmudug, accused the agencies of corruption and said the humanitarian aid did not reach those most in need.

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"By asking them to register, this does not mean we are oppressing them. We only want to emphasize and improve their service delivery. Our regulations are not exempted from any agency; rather it applies to all agencies in the region and those that will come in the future," he asserted.

Relief International, which operates in Galmudug, told Somalia Report they had not been notified of any such statement or law.

"We have not received any official notices about this. We operate in the region through express written permission and meet regularly with officials," a Relief International representative told Somalia Report.

Officials have accused aid agencies of enticing and fuelling insecurity in the region. To avert tension, Galmudug came up with measures to regulate the activities of various agencies and ensure that they are in line with mandate and that they don't interfere in the internal affairs of Galmudug and continue with their operation, provided that they are registered.

Residents welcomed the decision and urged the administration to ensure the effectiveness and implementation of the new rules.

"We see the new laws set up by Galmudug as ways to improve coordination between all parties concerned and we welcome it and it will enhance the mode of distribution of aids well," Ali Mohamed told Somalia Report.

Recently, the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) promised to set up exclusive feeding centres, which will be established in drought afflicted regions of Somalia including Galmudug state. This project will see thousands of malnourished children fed and cared for, across all Somali regions. Mark Bowden, UN humanitarian coordinator, visited Galakayo twice and discussed with officials how to ensure and stabilize aid distribution in the region effectively.