The government of Djibouti permitted the controversial private US security firm Blackwater 'to operate an armed ship from the port of Djibouti' and to 'use lethal force against pirates'. The permission was given in February 2009, it is revealed in a cable from the US Embassy in Djibouti, published by WikiLeaks.

A 'forgotten emergency' has left tens of thousands of pastoralists in Djibouti needing food and nutrition assistance as well as longer-term coping mechanisms, according to the UN. The tiny Horn of Africa state is the subject of a US$38.9 million appeal for food aid ($16.2 million), agriculture and livestock ($6.5 million), health and nutrition ($7.4 million), water and sanitation ($2.4 million), and emergency preparedness and sanitation ($6.4 million).

About half of Djibouti’s rural population will need emergency food assistance this year due to the combined effects of drought, livestock losses, unfavourable livestock-to-cereal terms of trade and high staple food prices, according to an assessment by the government and UN agencies.

Drought conditions and high staple food prices have left more than 340,000 people - over half of Djibouti's population - highly or extremely food insecure and in need of emergency food and non-food assistance through the end of 2009. Four consecutive years of minimal rains to support pastoral and agropastoral production have left rural and urban Djiboutians even more dependent on food imports at a time when international commodity prices have risen steadily.

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the imprisonment for the second time this year of journalist Houssein Ahmed Farah, a contributor to the opposition weekly Le Renouveau and brother of its managing editor, Daher Ahmed Farah. The state prosecutor yesterday ordered him detained in the capital’s Gabode prison.