Al-Shabab bans Save the Children from Somalia

Militant group al-Shabab has found another reason to ban an aid agency from providing humanitarian assistance in Somalia. On Tuesday (March 13), it accused Save the Children of distributing “expired porridge” to children.

In a statement, the al-Qaida-linked group said it “revokes the permission” of Save the Children to operate in regions under its control. Apart from the food, the rebel group said the organization engaged in corruption and failed to comply with the group’s rules. The organization has yet to comment on the issue.

The ban means an end to the organization’s projects in the affected regions, such as running health centers, treating malnourished children, digging wells for water, providing sanitation and improving schools, reports. It may also mean death for those still dealing with the effects of the drought that ravaged the Horn of Africa. The expulsion of aid agencies in November exacerbated the six-month famine that left tens of thousands of people dead, experts say, according to The Associated Press.

Al-Shabab banned 16 organizations — including six U.N. agencies — from operating in southern Somalia late last year. In January, it banned the International Committee of the Red Cross after blocking two of its aid convoys, saying the organization has betrayed the trust conferred on it by the local population.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.