NAIROBI — Attacks by Al Qaeda-linked rebels have led to the suspension of food distributions in large swathes of Somalia, leaving one million people outside the relief net, the UN food agency said Tuesday.
"Rising threats and attacks on humanitarian operations, as well as the imposition of a string of unacceptable demands from armed groups, have made it virtually impossible for the World Food Programme (WFP) to continue reaching up to one million people in need in southern Somalia," it said in a statement.
"WFP's humanitarian operations in southern Somalia have been under escalating attacks from armed groups, leading to this virtual suspension of humanitarian food distribution in much of southern Somalia," it said.
Mired by almost uninterrupted civil conflict since the 1991 ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre and plagued by recurring natural disasters, Somalia is often described as one of the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
The radical Islamist insurgent group Shebab, whose leader last year proclaimed allegiance to Al Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden, has overrun and looted several key UN compounds in southern Somalia in recent weeks.
The latest to have been overrun was in the southern town of Buale, which the WFP said was temporarily closed, together with the agency's offices in Wajid, Beledweyn and other major southern hubs.To read full AFP story — Go Here Now.
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