British foreign aid for Somalia falls into hands of al-Qa'ida

Almost £500,000 of goods and equipment "confiscated" by terror group as aid budget row continues

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The Independent Online

Almost half a million pounds of British taxpayer-funded aid destined help the poor of Somalia has fallen into the hands of al-Shabaab, a terror group affiliated to al-Qa'ida.

Al-Shbaab, the Somali franchise of the terror network are reported to have "confiscated" the equipment from UK government contractors, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The admission was found in the small print of the Department for International Development's latest accounts, which state that £480,000 worth of "humanitarian materials and supplies" had to be written off following their "confiscation" by the Somali militants.

A spokesman for DfID told the newspaper: “DfID works in some of the most dangerous places in the world, including Somalia, because tackling the root causes of poverty and instability there ensures a safer world and a safer UK.

“Working in conflict-affected and fragile states carries inherent risk. DFID does all it can to mitigate against this but, on occasion, losses will occur.

“We work with our partners to design programmes that protect our investment from misuse or theft.”

British aid will reach £11.3bn by 2015, in order to meet the coalition's promise that aid spending should be 0.7 per cent of GDP.

Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth told the paper, "There is huge public concern at the relentless increase in overseas aid. Incidents like this, where British taxpayers’ money is diverted into people fighting against us, are not acceptable. DfID owes it to the public to exercise the utmost care with its money.”

DfID have refused to disclose exactly what the lost supplies were.