WFP expands relief work in famine-hit Somalia

By the Associated Press | August 13, 2011 | 7:14 AM EDT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The U.N. World Food Program says it is expanding food distribution in Somalia's capital after an al-Qaida-linked militant group pulled out from most parts of Mogadishu.

Stanlake Samkange, the WFP regional director in East and Central Africa, said Saturday that aid workers will try to dramatically expand relief efforts following the withdrawal of al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab, the most dangerous militant group in Somalia, has been waging a war against a weak U.N.-backed Somali government. The group banned relief agencies including the WFP from operating in it territories.

An African Union peacekeeping force backing the Somali government forces said last week that sustained pressure led to al-Shabab's withdrawal.