Somalia Islamists force ICRC food aid suspension

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that it had suspended food distribution to 1.1 million people in central and southern Somalia after Al Shabab militants blocked deliveries in parts of the famine-hit country. The independent humanitarian agency, one of few providing aid supplies there despite huge logistical and security constraints, said that local authorities had blocked deliveries since mid-December in the Middle Shabelle and Galgadud regions.
“The suspension will continue until we receive assurances from the authorities controlling those areas that distributions can take place unimpeded and reach all those in need, as previously agreed, ” Patrick Vial, head of the ICRC delegation for Somalia, said in a statement. The ICRC said it was in talks with Al Shabab, an Islamist rebel group linked to al Qaeda, at solving the problem as soon as possible.
(Reuters)