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Monday, March 1, 2010
Somali Islamists ban UN food from rebel-held areas
NAIROBI, Kenya – An extremist Islamic group is blocking food deliveries to hundreds of thousands of hungry Somalis, officials said Monday, after the militants accused aid agencies of secretly supporting those who have renounced Islam.
Britain also said Monday it will ban Somalia's most dangerous extremist Islamic group, al-Shabab, an action already taken by the U.S. State Department in 2008 when it designated the group a terrorist organization. Al-Shabab is believed to have links with al-Qaida.
On Sunday, al-Shabab said it would prohibit the U.N.'s World Food Program from distributing food in areas under its control because it says the food undercuts farmers selling recently harvested crops.
It also accused the agency of handing out food unfit for human consumption and of secretly supporting "apostates," or those who have renounced Islam.
The U.S. and other governments have been talking about how to ensure that does not happen