Relief SCENE:Food
ICRC Suspends Work in Parts of Somalia
Aid Distribution Temporarily Halted After Group is Blocked by Militants
By MOHAMED NUXURKEY 01/12/2012

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today announced they are temporarily suspending food distribution to 1.1 million Somalis suffering from the effects of drought and famine in central and southern Somalia, after being blocked from conducting humanitarian operations.

"The suspension will continue until we receive assurances from the authorities controlling those areas that distributions can take place unimpeded and reach all those in need, as previously agreed," said Patrick Vial, the head of the ICRC delegation for Somalia, in a press release.

Although the ICRC did not specifically blame the al-Shabaab insurgent group for the blockade, last month the militants seized an ICRC truck loaded with aid in Baidabo in Somalia's Bay region.

Last year, the insurgent group also banned aid agencies from working in areas under its control and temporarily detained two ICRC employees.

Landmine Kills Local NGO Official

Meanwhile an official with a local NGO working in partnership with World Food Programme to distribute aid was killed by a landmine late Thursday afternoon along with his driver, residents told Somalia Report.

Abdikarin Hashi Kadiye, the deputy chairman of Towfiiq NGO and his driver, Du’ale, died after their car hit a landmine as they were driving in Birtadheer village, 15 km south of Dhusomareb, the regional capital of Galgadud.

Unconfirmed reports indicate the men may have been ambushed and killed by gunmen.

The reason behind the attack remains unclear but residents say Ethiopian troops had passed the area few minutes before the incident and were the likely target.

“Ethiopian troops from Dhusomareb passed the area and I think the blast was aiming at them,” Basher Ali, a resident of Birtadheer village, told Somalia Report by phone.