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China seeks to overtake the US in Africa as Somalia faces terrorism, drought and famine

China seeks to overtake the US in Africa as Somalia faces terrorism, drought and famine

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – human shields and drones, famine and terrorists and The China belt, once.

This is the toxic cocktail that is Somalia today, shaken by a superpower struggle dressed up in the diplomatic niceties of Washington and Beijing. A country where true goals are hidden, Somalia has struggled to find peace for decades and is now staring a deadly famine in the face.

Not content with terrorizing the population, the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, closely linked to the Al Qaeda terrorist movement, now said to be actively and rapidly causing famine in Somalia:

“With international support, al-Shabaab is facing some pressure. What they’re doing now is weaponizing the devastating situation we’re seeing, accelerating (the onset of) famine,” Jasmine Opperman, a former intelligence agent and now a leading security consultant specializing in extremism and political violence, told Fox News Digital. “They are deliberately displacing the people who live under their rule.”

US AIR STRIKES IN SOMALIA KILL 15 AL SHABAB FIGHTERS

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with former Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 31 August 2018.
(Roman Pilipey/Pool via Reuters)

Simply put, in areas where al-Shabaab operates, its fighters are pushing villagers, mostly farmers, and their livestock off their land and forcing them into situations where their animals are starving to death in what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees calls the – the worst drought the country has experienced in 40 years.

UNHCR representative in Somalia Magat Gisse confirmed to Fox News Digital that refugees face “protection risks arising from the armed conflict: indiscriminate attacks, separation of families, forced recruitment into armed groups, destruction of property. certain areas make it difficult for aid agencies to reach people affected by the drought.”

Observers point out that this means Al-Shabaab terrorists probably unwittingly preventing agencies from determining exactly how many are already starving. Some even say that there may already be famine in Somalia. However, the official line, drawn up with apparently incomplete data, is that the death toll should reach famine levels in the next six months.

UNHCR’s Giese told Fox News Digital Somalia is “on the brink of starvation.” Severe food and water shortages have left 7.1 million people in the country acutely food insecure. Millions have fled their homes in search of life-saving humanitarian aid. This year alone, more than 1.1 million people have been displaced in Somalia due to drought. In a massive operation, UNHCR helped nearly half a million people in Somalia this year.

President Biden speaks during the US-Africa Leaders Summit on December 15, 2022 in Washington, DC

President Biden speaks during the US-Africa Leaders Summit on December 15, 2022 in Washington, DC
(Kevin Deitch/Getty Images)

Umi Dabow, Somalia deputy country director for programs at the aid agency CARE, which has supported more than 700,000 Somalis this year, told Fox News Digital that the organization is deeply concerned.

“We have seen a surge in the number of emaciated women and children visiting the health centers we support,” Dubow said. “It is unacceptable that more than half of Somalia’s population will face acute food insecurity by June 2023 if emergency funding is not provided. Famine or not, more support is needed to save lives.”

BAIDOA, SOMALIA - NOVEMBER 9: Malnourished Somali baby Adan Makalin Ali, 1, is held by his mother, Hawo Abdi Adan, after being measured at the Maternal and Child Health Center in Danwadaag as Somalis struggle to cope with famine conditions due to four failed consecutive rainy seasons and a conflict with al-Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgents Al-Shabaab on November 9, 2022 in Baidoa, Somalia.  As the number of those in need has grown, the United Nations and Western aid agencies have warned of impending famine if there is not an immediate increase in aid to the affected areas.  Drought and insecurity have caused crop failures and the deaths of countless camels, cows and goats, the backbone of this pastoral economy, doubling the number of displaced people in Baidoa from al-Shabaab-held areas since spring to around 900,000, all in need from food, water and sanitation.  (Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images)

BAIDOA, SOMALIA – NOVEMBER 9: Malnourished Somali baby Adan Makalin Ali, 1, is held by his mother, Hawo Abdi Adan, after being measured at the Maternal and Child Health Center in Danwadaag as Somalis struggle to cope with famine conditions due to four failed consecutive rainy seasons and a conflict with al-Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgents Al-Shabaab on November 9, 2022 in Baidoa, Somalia. As the number of those in need has grown, the United Nations and Western aid agencies have warned of impending famine if there is not an immediate increase in aid to the affected areas. Drought and insecurity have caused crop failures and the deaths of countless camels, cows and goats, the backbone of this pastoral economy, doubling the number of displaced people in Baidoa from al-Shabaab-held areas since spring to around 900,000, all in need from food, water and sanitation. (Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images)
((Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images))

The timing in may of the biden administration’s announcement that americans are coming back to earth after President Trump withdrew the troops – a day after Somalia’s election results – raised suspicions among some.

Still, Somalia has oil. Seismologists say there are up to 30 billion barrels of it. American companies are reportedly looking to enter.

SOMALIA EXPECTS FAMINE IN SEVERAL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY IN COMING MONTHS

But the US is playing catch-up with the panda in the room. China has never withdrawn its support for Somalia, instead developing over 80 infrastructure projects such as hospitals and highways.

In return, Somalia became the first East African nation to establish diplomatic relations with China, with Beijing creating a special envoy for the Horn of Africa. There is no such person appointed in Washington. Beijing eyes Somalialocated near the vital Suez Canal and with the longest coastline in Africa, as an essential part of its Belt and Road trade route.

A view of the damage after a suicide car bomb targeted a security convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia, January 12, 2022.

A view of the damage after a suicide car bomb targeted a security convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia, January 12, 2022.
(Sadak Muhammad/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Radically different views are being pushed from Washington and Beijing.

“We see African countries, including Somalia, as partners in global and regional priorities,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital this week. “We remain committed to supporting Somalia- and African Union-led efforts to counter the threat posed by al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups.”

China’s special envoy for the region, Xue Bing, said “Chinese wisdom” suggests foreign nations such as the US get out, calling on Somalia’s government to “get rid of outside interference. We respect and support countries in the region to independently resolve their differences .”

And in the middle of the geopolitical battle is the aggressive cancer that is the terrorist group al-Shabaab. It is probably even more dangerous because thanks to the sustained offensive of the country’s new government, the extremists’ backs are against the wall.

Analyst Opperman concluded that Al-Shabab has recently lost control of over 80% of Somalia’s south-central regions.

“The government offensive is intense and continues to gain momentum,” Opperman said. “Shabaab goes back to human shields, back to kidnapping.”

Al-Shabaab terrorists conduct military exercises near Mogadishu, Somalia, in 2011.

Al-Shabaab terrorists conduct military exercises near Mogadishu, Somalia, in 2011.
(AP)

BOMBING IN SOMALIA: AT LEAST 100 KILLED IN AL SHABAB TERROR ATTACKS

There are signs that some sectors of Somali society, often quiet in the past, are turning against the terror group, sometimes in violent ways. The governor of Hiran district, Ali Jeite, promised a $30,000 reward and amnesty for “any member of al-Shabaab who kills a leader in the group” and urged them to cut off the private parts of the militants.

Al-Shabaab has become one of the world’s richest terrorist groups, extorting money from villagers and running cash-cow roadblocks that let most people through, but at a hefty price. This prompted Somali President Hassan Mohamud to attack this alleged religious organization during the recent US-Africa Summit in Washington.

People arrive at a camp for displaced persons on the outskirts of Dolow, Somalia, September 19, 2022.

People arrive at a camp for displaced persons on the outskirts of Dolow, Somalia, September 19, 2022.
(AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

They are “hiding in Islam, which is not true,” Mohamud told delegates. “What they are spreading is not Islam and has nothing to do with Islam. They are a mafia group covering themselves with the brand of Islam. If the community stands up, they have no choice but to flee.”

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At the request of the Somali government, the US Africa Command said it had killed 15 al-Shabaab fighters in two drone strikes over the past week. The US operation, involving about 450 US troops, is helping government forces and the feared Danab special forces push back al-Shabaab. But the fighters still often turn over profits, with some villages changing hands multiple times.


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