Kenya has impounded three World Food Programme trucks for allegedly ferrying food and logistical equipment to al Shabaab militants in Somalia.
The Star Kenya quotes Mandera county commissioner Fredrick Shisia saying the trucks were destined for Dholo in Somalia, where the terror group is based.
“We have stopped the transiting of the WFP consignment because of allegations that there was a meeting between the community and the Somalia government to the effect that al-Shabaab be allowed to pick food and other logistical arrangement undeterred,” he told The Star.
Shisia said the government will not let the militants replenish resources and turn to Kenya, threatening its people and security.
He said the WFP was doing a good job but that arrangements on the ground were unclear and that there suspicions the NGO was supplying the state’s enemy with food.
“We need an explanation from WFP as to who is the sole beneficiary of the food programme before we allow it to get into Somalia,” he said.
“We will not allow or assist anybody from our end if those benefiting from the food programme are militants who later turn against our country.”
He said a message wanting NGOs out of Mandera was released on Sunday, when the terror group reportedly dispatched fighters to obtain the trucks and carry out attacks in Mandera.
“These are antics of al Shabaab. We appeal to NGOs to confirm the authenticity of such messages with us before taking any action,” he said.
In 2013, the BBC reported that aid agencies paid Somalia’s al-Shabab militants for access to areas under their control in the 2011 famine.
In many cases al-Shabab insisted on distributing the aid and kept much of it for itself, according to a joint report by two think tanks.
Some of the groups are still paying al-Shabab to operate in the large parts of Somalia it still holds.
More than 250,000 people died during the famine, caused by a drought.
The disaster affected more than 13 million people across the Horn of Africa and triggered a major refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of Somalis fleeing the rural areas controlled by al-Shabab.
The militant group had banned several international aid agencies.
Many people walked over the border to camps in Kenya and Ethiopia or to Somalia’s government-controlled capital, Mogadishu.