- - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya — Al Qaeda-linked Somali insurgents say they are expelling the British aid group Save the Children from areas under their control.

A Tuesday statement from the al-Shabab militia said Save the Children distributed 4,470 cartons of expired porridge to children, was corrupt and offered bribes.

Save the Children officials were not immediately available for comment.

Al-Shabab has expelled several aid organizations from its territory, including the Red Cross, the Danish Refugee Council, the U.N. World Food Program, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

Experts say the expulsions of aid agencies contributed to a famine in the group’s strongholds from July to January in which tens of thousands of people died.


South Africa opens ties with Somalia

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa says it is establishing its first diplomatic relations with Somalia in hopes it can assist in the war-torn East African nation’s search for peace and democracy.

The South African Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane reached an agreement to exchange diplomats with her Somali counterpart in that country’s transitional government.

It said only peace negotiations between all Somali armed groups could restore constitutional law after more than two decades of civil war.

The statement said South Africa is ready to share experiences of its own history in ending apartheid-era rule and building a new constitution.

Diplomats based in Kenya will act for South Africa until an embassy can be opened in Mogadishu.


Former ruling party dissolved: Chief registrar

LUSAKA — Zambia’s former ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy has been dissolved for failing to pay registration fees, which could see it stripped of its parliamentary seats, the chief registrar said Wednesday.

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