Did UNICEF Give Money to Al Qaeda?

Al-Shabab insisted on distributing the aid and kept much of it


The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies report that discusses how international aid agencies operating in Somalia paid al-Shabab, an Al Qaeda linked group, to be able to operate there avoids naming names. Instead of naming the non-profits that paid for the privilege, it discusses those that were, eventually, banned.

But reading between the lines, the banned groups had to first pay off Al Qaeda years before they were banned...

Aid agencies paid Somalia's al-Shabab militants for access to areas under their control in the 2011 famine, according to a joint report by two think tanks.

In many cases al-Shabab insisted on distributing the aid and kept much of it for itself, the report says.

The report - by the Overseas Development Institute and the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies - details how al-Shabab demanded from the agencies what it described as "registration fees" of up to $10,000 (£6,100).

UNICEF was banned in 2011, but demands for money began earlier. For example...

In November 2009, Al-Shabaab imposed 11 conditions on remaining aid agencies in Bay and Bakool, including payment of registration and security fees of up to $20,000 every six months, the removal of all logos from agency vehicles and a ban on female employees. Some resisted. Prior to 2009 the World Food Programme (WFP) was able to establish some degree of productive dialogue with Al-Shabaab, but later withdrew from some areas under its control, citing the 11 conditions as part of the reason behind this decision

For many agencies withdrawal was seen as unacceptable, particularly given the scale of need around the famine in 2011, which affected an estimated 750,000 Somalis, many living in areas under Al-Shabaab control.

Apparently funding Al Qaeda was more acceptable. So did UNICEF or any other UN agency pay fees to a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda?

That's a question worth asking and answering considering how much money UNICEF derives from the goodwill of Americans.