INTRODUCTION: A United States Congressional committee left Somalia on Monday (17 August) with muted criticism at the failure to resolve the dispute with Ethiopia over the Ogaden region.
GV Crowds of refugees line camp as U.S. delegation convoy arrives 0.13
SV Crowd holding banners supporting cause for food 0.18
SV Banners 0.27
GV Refugees PAN OVER camp 0.38
SV U.S. delegation talking to officials (2 shots) 1.04
LV Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm leaving refugee hut 1.10
SV Delegation leader Howard Wolpe talking to Somali official 1.17
GV Armed guards standing by as delegation look into hut 1.22
GV Delegation touring camp (2 shots) 1.37
GV Delegation talking to officials 1.40
SV Congresswoman Chisholm talking to Swiss nurse (2 shots) 1.53
SV Swiss nurse talking to Congressman Wolpe 2.01
Background: MOGADISHU, SOMALIA
INTRODUCTION: A United States Congressional committee left Somalia on Monday (17 August) with muted criticism at the failure to resolve the dispute with Ethiopia over the Ogaden region. Ethiopia and Somalia fought a war over the Somalia Ogaden region four years ago and Somalia now backs guerrillas fighting Ethiopian troops in the vast desert area. The delegation, led by the Chairman of the House Sub-Committee on Africa, Howard Wolpe met representatives of the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) for two hours on Sunday (16 August) and discussed the guerrilla war. Prior to the talks, the Americans visited the Jallalaqsi refugee camp in Mogadishu to see first hand the conditions under which hundreds of thousands of refugees live.
SYNOPSIS: The Jallalaqsi camp is typical of the 33 refugee camps in Somalia which house the people who fled the conflict in the Ogaden.
A peaceful demonstration spelled out the need for food and the political feelings of the refugees. Earlier this month (3 August) an Italian delegation made a similar visit.
The U.S. Congressional delegation consisted of five members. They quickly established they wanted to leave the vehicles and make a close inspection of the camp.
Somali officials accompanied the Americans on the tour. They included the Somali Ambassador to the United States and Extraordinary Commissioner of the National Refugee Commission. The four day stopover in Somalia was part of a fact-finding mission of Six African nations by the Congressmen and women. Their next destination was Angola.
Brooklyn Democrat Shirley Chisholm took the opportunity to see first hand the facilities inside the huts, while the delegation leader Congressman Howard Wolpe spoke with Somali officials.
He later said the United States might shift the emphasis away from direct food aid and try to establish some measure of self-sufficiency for Somalia's 33 refugee camps. He also told newsmen the central concern of the U.S. government is the peaceful solution of the Ogaden situation.
A Swiss Church maintains representation within the Somalia refugee camps. The congressional committee spent some time talking with a nurse attached to the organisation.
Before Mogadishu, the Americans visited South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. They also held talks with Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre.
Source: REUTERS - BOB DIETZ