Somalia – As famine spreads, Somali militants ban snack food

July 27, 2011

“They [al-Shabaab] did not give further details but it is believed that they took offence at the triangular shape in which many of the Islamists believe resemble the Christian symbol,“ said the resident.

“Any one caught cooking, buying or selling samosas, locally known as sambusa, will be punished,” the militants announced from loudspeakers mounted on vehicles, the resident said.

Samosas are commonly served as fast food for breakfast and dinner across the Horn of Africa. They are popular during Ramadan as the first course of the evening fast-breaking meal known as iftar.

Ramadan this year begins Aug. 1.

It is the first time the extremist group has imposes strict rule regarding food items. They have so far banned watching movies, listening to music and playing soccer.

Last week, al-Shabaab refused to allow aid agencies to start operation in the drought-affected regions of Somalia after previously suggesting it would lift the ban.

Al-Shabaab’s ban on samosas comes as more than 10 million people in Somalia are affected by severe drought. Aid agencies warn that one in every three Somali people will die of hunger if the international community does not deliver emergency relief.