Somalia fighter group al-Shabab has banned three Christian aid agencies from operating in the African country ordering them to leave Somalia immediately.
„As of today, all the organizations listed below can no longer operate inside Somalia: World Vision, ADRA, Diakonia,“ Reuters said, citing a statement by al-Shabab’s Office for Supervision of Affairs of Foreign Agencies.
It added that the organizations have been found to be actively propagating Christianity in „this Muslim country [Somalia].“
„Acting as missionaries under the guise of humanitarian work, the organizations have been spreading their corrupted ideologies in order to taint the pure creed of Muslims in Somalia,“ the statement added.
Al-Shabab fighters also warned that other agencies promoting the Christian faith would be expelled.
Local employees of two of the organizations who asked to remain anonymous told AFP that al-Shabab officials had already confiscated equipment from some offices in several towns, including Baidoa and Wajid.
Somalia has been embroiled in civil war for years as it has not had a functioning national government since the overthrow of the country’s dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre, in 1991.
Somalia already has 1.4 million internally displaced people, and about 575,000 have fled to neighboring countries.
In 2009, Somalis were the third-largest group seeking asylum in industrialized countries, with more than 22,000 claims, according to figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).