An Islamist insurgency group in Somalia has banned three Christian charities over allegations of proselytisation.
Al-Shabaad, a group known to have close ties with al-Qaeda, ordered World Vision, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and Diakonia to "immediately" cease their operations and leave Somalia.
"Acting as missionaries under the guise of humanitarian work, the organisations have been spreading their corrupted ideologies in order to taint the pure creed of the Muslims in Somalia," Al-Shabaad said in a statement.
World Vision Somalia and ADRA deny the allegations. Both organisations have temporarily suspended its operations.
"World Vision is surprised and disappointed by the move based on false accusations of spreading Christianity," said World Vision Somalia's spokeswoman, Amanda Koech.
Koech said that although World Vision is a Christian organisation motivated by Christian values, staff members are prohibited from proselytising.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency also insisted it was solely focused on implementing emergency relief and development.
Al- Shabaad’s ban comes just days after Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the deaths of Christian aid workers in Afghanistan.
The group has reportedly declared war on the UN and several Western non-governmental organisations that distribute aid in Somalia.
Somalia is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in years due to heightened conflict in some areas and drought in others. Officials last year said an estimated 3.8 million people - roughly half the population - are in urgent need of aid.
Somalian militant group tells World Vision to leave country
Published 11 August 2010