Somali militant group shuts down UN mine agency

AP News
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Posted: Dec 17, 2009 7:55 AM

A Somalia Islamist militant group says it is banning the U.N. mine agency from its territory.

Al-Shabab accuses U.N. Mine Action of paying police salaries for Somalia's weak, transitional government. The group said Thursday that the U.N. agency has been surveying vital and sensitive areas under al-Shabab control.

Earlier this week an old mine killed six children from the same family. Mines riddle the Somali countryside and were first laid in 1964 and during subsequent wars with neighboring Ethiopia. The U.N. agency could not be reached for comment.

Al-Shabab has already banned several U.N. agencies and aid groups. The group is part of an Islamic insurgency trying to topple the government. Somalia has not had an effective government for 18 years.