Until recently, when Somalia made worldwide headlines, it was usually because of piracy. Somali pirates have become infamous for hijacking ships, holding their crew and cargo hostage, and collecting millions in ransom as they disrupt international shipping and trade.
But now, the story in Somalia is famine. According to the United Nations, 3.2 million people are in need of immediate assistance, and tens of thousands of Somalis, most of them children, have already died.
As we’ve reported before on Need to Know, the political situation in Somalia complicates the effort to get food aid to people who so desperately need it. The country has been in a state of civil war for more than two decades. And the militant Islamist group Al Shabaab, which has been battling the transitional federal government for control, has done its best to stop international aid from entering the country and being distributed. Much of the food that has gotten in has been stolen and sold on the black market, some of it by heavily armed government troops, according to the New York Times.
Now we present to you this rare portrait of Somalia’s embattled capital city, Mogadishu. It’s part of a documentary called “Mogadishu: The Ghost City.”