Militant group al-Shabab has banned the International Committee of the Red Cross from operating in its strongholds in central and southern Somalia — a move that impedes relief efforts in the crisis-hit regions further.
ICRC is one of the few remaining international aid groups that operates in south and central Somalia. Al-Shabab heavily restricts humanitarian work in these areas and has already banned and expelled several aid groups, including some U.N. agencies.
Al-Shabab announced the ban on ICRC on Monday (Jan. 30). In a statement, the rebel group said it is has decided to “fully terminate the contract” of ICRC for betraying “the trust conferred on it by the local population” and accusing al-Shabab militants of “hindering food distribution,” news agencies report.
ICRC recently suspended its relief work in some parts of central and south Somalia after rebels blocked and seized some of the aid group’s convoys. It has yet to comment on the ban.
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