A desert locust feeds on crops. File picture: Louafi Larbi/Reuters

Mogadishu - Residents of a central Somali town besieged by locusts have taken an unusual approach to fighting the destructive pests: eating them.

Locals in Adado have started consuming the insects that have invaded their town and rural areas. Islamic scholars have declared them halaal and so permissible to eat. 

Pictures of people cooking and eating the locusts were circulating widely Thursday on social media and on television broadcasts.

Some residents said that the insects are "delicious."

Somalia faces the worst outbreak of desert locust in more than 25 years, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in an emergency update issued on Wednesday.

The situation has been "exacerbated by exceptionally high rainfall and cyclone Pawan," the FAO said. The invasive grasshoppers have damaged crops and pasture in Ethiopia and Somalia, and will likely spread to neighbouring countries if not stopped, it added.

"Limited resources and capacity compared to the immense scale of the outbreak, coupled with continued insecurity in central and southern Somalia, pose a serious challenge to combat this unprecedented massive outbreak," the organization warned.

dpa