NAIROBI, The Kenyan government has impounded three World Food Programme trucks for allegedly ferrying food to Al-Shabaab militants.
Confirming the incident, Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia said the trucks, destined for Dholo, Somalia, were suspected to be carrying food and other items for the terror group.
He further added that all WFP consignment to Somali have been stopped 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 up food and other logistical arrangements undeterred.
“Following a meeting between Somalia National Army, Transitional Federal government officials and the Bulla Hawa community they agreed the Al-Shabaab also be given food rations from WFP, the government cannot allow this to happen as criminals who continue killing our people cannot be fed,” said Shisia.
He said the government which has been fighting the insurgents in southern Somalia will not allow food to be supplied to the same militants whom its troops have been fighting.
Shisia said the lorries which were held on Sunday will continue being under police custody until WFP clarifies its position.
He said a fourth truck, ferrying a Toyota Land Cruiser, was allowed to proceed into Somalia but the other three vehicles were held with an unknown quantity of what is said to be food.
The move has caused tension since Sunday after it was alleged that the militant group had dispatched its members to carry out attacks in Mandera town and get the trucks.
“We will need to get an explanation from the WFP as to who are to who sole beneficiary of the food programme before we allow it to get into Somalia,” Shisia said.
Kenya’s security forces have intensified patrols along its porous border with Somalia after the Somali militants attacked its base in Gedo region, killing several soldiers.
WFP Senior Regional Spokeswoman Challis McDonough expressed shock at the decision to impound the vehicles.
She said she did not have full information on the matter as she had just arrived in the country from Ethiopia.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.