Somali Militant Group Bans U.K. Aid Organization; Oxfam Warns Malnutrition In Somalia At 'Alarming' Level

“Militant Islamist rebels in Somalia on Monday announced a ban against another aid group working in a region of Somalia hit hard by hunger,” the Associated Press reports (Straziuso, 10/8). “Al-Shabab says the U.K.-based Islamic Relief was covertly working on behalf of other aid groups already banned, including the U.N. World Food Programme,” according to BBC News, which notes, “Islamic Relief says it has yet to be officially informed of the decision.” The news service adds, “Some 1.3 million people in need of food, clean water, and health care may be put at risk, the group says” (10/8).

“The militants, who have imposed a harsh form of sharia law in the areas they hold, are deeply hostile to western aid agencies, and angered locals by banning food aid in the south during last year’s drought, in which tens of thousands of Somalis died,” the Guardian writes, adding, “Although the situation in Somalia has improved since last year, a report by Oxfam on Monday warned that food and water shortages were at critical levels in the south and likely to deteriorate” (Chonghaile, 10/8). “The level of malnutrition in Somalia is ‘alarming’ after below-average seasonal rains that hurt the so-called Gu harvest and led to rising food prices, Oxfam said,” Bloomberg reports, noting, “Oxfam warned that Somalia could slide back into ‘crisis’ without sustained support from aid agencies” (McGregor, 10/8).

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