Somali Militants Ban Red Cross From Territory

Posted January 30th, 2012 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Somali militant group al-Shabab has banned the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from operating in the territory it controls.

In a statement Monday, al-Shabab said the Red Cross had “betrayed the trust” of local officials and falsely accused the group's fighters of “hindering food distribution.”

There was no immediate response from the ICRC.

Earlier this month, the Red Cross said it was suspending food distribution to more than a million people in central and southern Somalia because local authorities had blocked the delivery of food in Somalia's Middle Shabelle and Galgaduud regions.

Millions of Somalis are dependent on foreign aid after years of conflict in the Horn of Africa country and a severe regional drought.

The ICRC was one of the few international agencies still operating in al-Shabab territory.

The Islamist group is fighting to keep hold of its territories in southern and central Somalia in the face of military operations by Ethiopia, Kenya, the African Union and the U.N.-backed Somalia government.