Saturday, May 14, 2005

Aid slow to reach war-ravaged regions of Guinea

In late 2000, a mysterious group of dissidents based in Liberia called the MFDG invaded Guinea with the purported goal of overthrowing the regime of Gen. Lansana Conté. The so-called MFDG's incursion destroyed many settlements, including the village of a very good friend of mine.

The MFDG were backed by former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, now an indicted war criminal. The MFDG was never heard of before the invasion and after it was repelled, it's never been heard of since.

Nevertheless, the massive devastation caused by the invasions didn't go away so quickly. And as this piece from the Inter Press Service points out that aid to affected areas has been elusive.

According to Guinea's finance ministry, millions of dollars worth of damage was inflicted in the course of fighting in late 2000. There were many promises of international assistance but, as in so many other places, they proved empty.

"When the rebel attacks took place, we welcomed the Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees, hoping that the international community would come to our aid. Today, we realise that it was nothing more than promises because we are still short of everything in this village," explains one nurse.

Ari Toubo Ibrahim, the representative in Guinea of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, says disturbances in the south have had a knock-on effect as far as regional food security is concerned.

"The southern part of Guinea had always produced an agricultural surplus, especially in rice, and today it is seeking to make up its losses. It's a terrible situation, not only for Guinea but also for villages in surrounding countries which are supplied from the (southern) region," he told IPS.

"Around [the large southeastern city of] Nzerekore alone, there are about 300,000 people native to the area who are living in true deprivation."


He points out the civil war in Côte d'Ivoire, which is adjacent to southeastern Guinea, has only further taxed a region whose resources were already stretched by the presence of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

3 Comments:

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian, why do you label people and call them names. your articles would be much better without the name calling.

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Dear "Anon",
These are actually opinion essays, not (news) articles. My opinion essays do not pretend to be neutral.

In my essays, I do not hesitate to call a spade a spade. Dictators deserve to be labelled as such, with the accompanying scorn. I will not soft-peddle criticism of human rights' abusers. I'm sorry if that bothers you but it would be disingenuous for me to do it any other way.

In regard to this essay, Taylor was a dictator and I called him such.

The only other thing that could be possibly construed as name calling was my reference to Taylor as an indicted war criminal. That's not my opinion by a VERIFIABLE FACT.

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger Brian said...

And with all due respect, I think this blog shows more restraint than 99% of the political blogs out there.

 

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