The U.N. food agency says it is stopping aid distribution to about 1 million people in southern Somalia because of attacks against staff and “unacceptable” demands by armed groups.
The World Food Program says up to 95 of those areas are controlled by the al-Shabab Islamist group. The U.S. State Department says the group has links to al-Qaeda.
The WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella says armed groups demanded WFP remove women from all posts and pay protection money to guarantee the aid workers’ security.
Ms. Casella said Tuesday that people who were receiving aid from WFP until now “face a situation that is particularly dire.”