Somali Militants Ban Aid Agencies

Posted November 28th, 2011 at 8:00 am (UTC-5)
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Rebels from the Somali militant group al-Shabab have banned several international aid organizations and raided their offices in central and southern Somalia.

The al-Qaida-linked group on Monday ordered the World Health Organization, the U.N. Children's Fund and the U.N.'s refugee agency to halt their operations along with several others in rebel-controlled areas.

The militants also took control of some offices and looted equipment.

Al-Shabab has previously banned most foreign aid workers, as groups work to provide food aid to millions of people in the country. The United Nations says famine still persists in three regions of Somalia with nearly 250,000 people at risk of starvation.

Al-Shabab pulled its fighters from the capital, Mogadishu, in August but still controls large areas of central and southern Somalia.

Troops from Kenya, the African Union and Somalia's transitional government are all battling al-Shabab. Ethiopia said last week it may contribute troops to the fight.