Reports from Baidoa and Hudur towns say that al Shabaab, the Islamic terrorist group that opposes the policies of the Somali Government, has started moving people affected by famine back to their homes. Raising fears among Somalis that people trapped in al-Shabab territory will be forced to starve to death .
Most of those being returned had left the rural areas in search of humanitarian assistance, especially after their livestock and farms perished as a result of a long period of droughts in the towns 240 km and 520 kilometres southwest of Mogadishu.
“Al Shabaab militants are using trucks to return the famine-affected people to the pastoral lands,” said a displaced person who did not want named for security reasons.
An al Shabaab official, however, was quoted on Saturday, saying that cards had been distributed to those being returned to allow them to receive aid at their places of origin.
The reaction to the return is said to be alarming. Some of the returnees are afraid that the harsh conditions that forced them to depart remain in their lands.