London, Feb 4(ANI): The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) had suspended its activities in Somalia after being manipulated by Al-Shabaab, a group linked to Al-Qaeda, according to classified US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
Al-Shabaab, which is fighting to overthrow the Somalian government, controls much of south and central Somalia and part of the capital Mogadishu, where it has imposed a form of Islamic law.
According to the Telegraph, in a meeting last year with the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, said that the WFP had been withdrawn "because it had become too reliant upon Al-Shabaab and its system of pay-offs".
Al-Shabaab had reportedly demanded that the UN agency remove all women from its jobs and pay 20,000 dollars every six months for "security" in some of the regions it controls.
The WFP had suspended operations in Somalia in January last year, saying that the safety of its staff was compromised in the region.
The programme had been supporting up to a million people in the country. (ANI)