Al Qaeda terrorists in Somalia pillaged £480,000 worth of British aid in raid on contractors delivering humanitarian supplies


Chris Hastings |   Daily Mail  |11  August 2013

 

  • ‘Theft’ of aid  and equipment hidden in recent set of Government accounts
  • Contractors were  targeted by al-Shabaab, Somali cell of Al Qaeda
  • Government:  ‘We work in some of the most dangerous places in the  world’

  Al Qaeda militants pillaged British  taxpayer-funded aid worth almost £500,000, the Department for International  Development has admitted.

The Government said that a Somali-based cell  of Al Qaeda, known as al-Shabaab, plundered the vital humanitarian aid and  equipment from approved contractors.

The loss was hidden in the small print of a  recent set of Department for International Development (DfID) accounts which  revealed ‘the theft’ of supplies worth £480,000 between November 2011 and  February 2012.

 
 
Loss: It is believed the supplies were stolen by Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based cell of Al Qaeda, and burnt

Loss: It is believed the supplies were stolen by  Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based cell of Al Qaeda, and burnt

It is understood that the supplies were  stolen or destroyed in November 2011 when al-Shabaab went on the rampage through  an area where some of DFiD’s local partners had a warehouse.  

The report singles out al-Shabaab for blame  and states: ‘DfID partners had no prior warning of the confiscations being  carried out and therefore had no time to prevent the loss.’

A DfID spokesman added: ‘We work in some of  the most dangerous places in the world, including Somalia, because tackling the  root causes of poverty and instability there ensures a safer world.

‘Working in conflict-affected and fragile  states carries inherent risk. DfID does all it can to mitigate against this but,  on occasion, losses will occur.’

Questions: Aid workers struggled to deliver supplies to thousands of Somali refugees during the humanitarian crisis in 2011

Questions: Aid workers struggled to deliver supplies to  thousands of Somali refugees during the humanitarian crisis in 2011

More than 13 million people were reliant on  humanitarian aid during the Horn of Africa crisis in November 2011. Starving  people were dying of malaria and cholera and heavy rains made it impossible for  aid workers to deliver supplies.

The disclosure that so much material went  missing will raise fears that the Government is not doing enough to protect aid  supplies. Ministers have been under increasing pressure to justify a decision to  protect overseas aid from spending cuts.

British aid is due to reach about £11 billion  by 2015 to meet the Government’s promise that spending should be 0.7 per cent of  gross national income. Critics say the 0.7 per cent figure encourages wasteful  spending to meet the target.

Last night DfID was not able to confirm what  sort of supplies had been lost in Somalia but suggested that they were burned by  al-Shabaab rather than stolen.