A Somali government spokesman says administration officials will meet representatives of the World Food Program this weekend to urge the humanitarian agency to resume its operations.

Abdulkadir Walayo says the Somali government is also calling on other international humanitarian organizations to help needy Somalis.

“Because of this development of stopping humanitarian assistance from the World Food Program to needy Somali people following the threats they received from al-Shabab, now, the government is looking (at) ways and means to resume that (operation) to Somali needy people,” he said.   

Last Tuesday, WFP said that increasing threats and attacks on its operations, and unacceptable demands from various armed groups, make it impossible to continue reaching up to one million needy people in southern Somalia. But insurgent group al-Shabab denies attacking WFP operations.

Walayo said government officials will soon come up with solutions to the humanitarian crisis now that the WFP has suspended its operations.

“The ministry of humanitarian affairs and other line ministries which have activities in humanitarian things will meet and then come up with the best way to resume the WFP activities in Somalia, especially in the Somali capital of Mogadishu,” Walayo said.

Al-Shabab, which controls parts of southern and central Somalia, was accused of expelling a number of UN agencies from areas under their control.

Last month, the hard-line insurgent group was also alleged to have distributed food aid under forcible conditions in WFP warehouses in the southern Somali town of Merka.

Walayo said the government will continue its fight to combat rebel insurgencies.

“The government is engaged to sort out the security problem existing in Somalia, especially in the capital. And as the prime minister said… the government will engage to put to an end the occupation of al-Shabab,” Walayo said.