WHAT: Extremist Islamic rebels al-Shabab blocked trucks carrying United Nations food deliveries to hundreds of thousands of hungry Somalis in its territories for the past two weeks, the World Food Program said Monday. Al-Shabab tried to claim Sunday that U.N. food is unfit for human consumption, undercuts local farmers’ crop prices and is secretly given to support “apostates” who renounced Islam.
WHY IT’S A BAD IDEA: Somali farmers can only produce one-third of the nation’s food needs after two decades of war. Some 3.7 million people — nearly half the population — need aid.
WHAT’S BEING DONE: Britain — home to Europe’s largest Somali community — banned al-Shabab on Monday, making it a criminal offense to be a member or collect donations. The U.S. State Department already banned al-Shabab in 2008 as a terrorist organization with links to al-Qaida.