UN agencies closed

MOGADISHU - Somalia's militant al Shabaab group says it will shut down three United Nations agencies operating in the Horn of Africa nation since they are working against the establishment of an Islamic state.

MOGADISHU - Somalia's militant al Shabaab group says it will shut down three United Nations agencies operating in the Horn of Africa nation since they are working against the establishment of an Islamic state.

Al Shabaab controls much of southern Somalia and parts of the capital of 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 on Somalia.

"As of July 20 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 yesterday.

It said the agencies were the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Department of Safety and Security and United Nations Political Office for Somalia.

"These foreign agencies have been found to be working against the benefits of the Somali Muslim population and the establishment of an Islamic state in Somalia," said a statement from al Shabaab's department of political affairs and regional administrations.

The rebel group said other nongovernmental organisations and foreign agencies operating in Somalia should contact the administration in their area. There they will be informed of the conditions for and restrictions on their work. - Reuters

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