Somali Islamist group accuses WFP as "an obstacle"

08:34, November 16, 2009      

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The Somali Islamist rebel group of Al-Shabaab on Sunday accused the United Nation's World Food Programme (WFP) of being "an obstacle" to the war ravaged country's agricultural production.

Spokesman for the militant group, Ali Mohamoud Raage, said the UN food agency "deliberately" imports food aid during harvest seasons in Somalia to discourage farmers from growing food grains.

"WFP is an obstacle to the agricultural production of Somalia because they bring in spoilt grain when farmers are harvesting their crops," Raage said as he spoke in the southern port town of Merka, 100 km south of Mogadishu.

The Islamist official claimed that his group found out from farmers and intellectuals they consulted that the UN food agency was discouraging farmers from growing food grains, saying the local farmers have been given "money and machinery so that fruits and vegetables be grown instead of food grains".

"We can do without WFP' spoilt maize. If we put our trust in Allah we will have prosperity," the Islamist official said.

The Islamist Al-Shabaab movement which controls much of south and center of Somalia have previously banned the operations of several UN agencies in areas under their control.

The group which is alleged to have links to Al-Qaeda considers the UN as a tool used by the west and in particular the United States which they see as their sworn enemy.

WFP has scaled down its operations in the south and center of Somalia following the deteriorating security situation which led the death, injury and abduction of several local and international aid workers.

Source: Xinhua
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