A spokesman for Somalia’s most dangerous militant group says it won’t allow banned aid workers into the areas it controls.

Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage is calling the U.N.’s declaration of famine in parts of Somalia politically motivated and pure propaganda.

Tens of thousands of hungry Somalis have fled on foot to neighbouring Kenya.

A prolonged drought turned into famine in part because neither the Somali government or aid agencies can fully operate in areas of southern Somalia controlled by the group al-Shabab.

The U.S. agreed to allow emergency aid to be spent in areas controlled by al-Shabab so long as the militants didn’t disrupt distribution efforts. But the al-Shabab spokesman said late Thursday aid workers were still banned.

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