WFP Wants an Independent Probe Team on its Operations in Somalia

Somalia - women receiving food aid

Nairobi, Kenya 11th March,2010 … World Food Programme (WFP) has said it would welcome an independent investigation into its food assistance operations in Somalia. At the same time, the agency said it would not engage in any new work with three transport contractors named in a report from the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia, which alleged they were involved in arms-trading. “The integrity of our organization is paramount and we will be reviewing and investigating each and every issue raised by this report,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Sheeran added that WFP lives every day with the dangerous realities of our Somalia operation and would do everything it could to reach the hungry in Somalia. In January, WFP also suspended operations across southern Somalia in response to intimidation of its staff and the imposition of a number of unreasonable demands by armed groups that contravened WFP’s rules and regulations for delivering food for the hungry.

The report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia, due to be presented to the UN Security Council next week, alleges that contractors have diverted WFP food assistance away from the hungry. Sheeran noted that vulnerabilities are always present in conflict areas, and many of the issues raised have already been addressed, while other points identified by the UN Monitoring Group conflicted with operational facts and information.

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