/ 20 July 2009

Somali rebels to close down three UN agencies

Somalia’s militant al-Shabaab group said on Monday it would shut down three United Nations agencies operating in the Horn of Africa nation as they were working against the establishment of an Islamic state.

Al-Shabaab controls much of southern Somalia and parts of the capital, Mogadishu. The group, which has links to al-Qaeda, is fighting government troops and African Union peacekeepers to impose its own harsh version of sharia law throughout Somalia.

”As of July 20 2009, a number of NGOs and foreign agencies currently operating in Somalia will be completely closed down and considered enemies of Islam and Muslims,” al-Shabaab said.

It said the agencies were: UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), UNDSS (United Nations Department of Safety and Security) and UNPOS (United Nations Political Office for Somalia).

”The above foreign agencies have been found to be working against the benefits of the Somali Muslim population and against the establishment of an Islamic State in Somalia,” said a statement from al-Shabaab’s department of political affairs and regional administrations.

It said other NGOs and foreign agencies operating in Somalia should contact the administration in their area and they would be informed of the conditions and restrictions on their work. — Reuters