Militant group kicks aid group out of regions in Somalia

Displaced Somali children queue as they wait for food-aid rations in the capital, Mogadishu, on January 19, 2012.

Story highlights

  • Militant group says it decides to "terminate the contract" of the ICRC
  • Earlier this month, the ICRC said it suspended services in parts of Somalia
  • "We want to find a way to get aid to those who need it," ICRC spokesman says

The Somali militant group Al-Shabaab says it has banned the International Committee of the Red Cross from operating in the regions it controls, accusing the organization of distributing expired food.

In a statement on Twitter Monday the group said it "has decided to terminate the contract of #ICRC permanently... Following the repeated distribution of expired food and false accusations," that the organization is hindering food distribution.

Earlier this month the ICRC announced that it was suspending aid intended for up to 1.1 million people in central and southern Somalia because it was being hindered by local authorities.

Jean-Yves Clemenzo, a spokesman for the ICRC, said it had not changed its earlier stance but was trying to find a solution.

"We are aware of the announcement by Al-Shabaab. We are taking it quite seriously and analyzing the situation," said Clemenzo.

According to the ICRC, the organization has distributed food relief to more than 1 million people and agricultural support to more than 100,000 farmers.

"We want to find a way to get aid to those who need it," said Clemenzo.

The Al-Shabaab press office said on Twitter Monday that the "ICRC betrayed the trust conferred on it by local population."

Al-Shabaab is linked to al Qaeda and is considered a terrorist group by the United States.

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