UN condemns killing of its official in SomaliaJuly 8th, 2008 - 5:30 am ICT by IANS
Mogadishu/Nairobi, July 8 (DPA) The UN Monday condemned the killing of the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) top official in Somalia, who was shot as he left a mosque near his home in the capital, Mogadishu. Osman Ali Ahmed was shot by three men with pistols Sunday evening in Bula Hubey, south Mogadishu, witnesses told DPA.
“Osman Ali Ahmed was a highly respected UNDP staff member who had performed his duties with great courage and commitment over the past 14 years,” Mark Bowden, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said in a statement.
The US State Department condemned the “brutal” slaying and offered sympathies to Ahmed’s family.
“Ahmed’s murder … highlights the determination of violent extremists to attack the right to worship and to silence moderate voices working for peace and lasting stability in Somalia,” US spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Aid workers have been increasingly targeted for attacks and abduction since the man believed to be Al Qaeda’s top operative in Somalia, Aden Hashi Ayro, was killed on May 1 in a US airstrike.
Ayro was the leader of Islamic militant group al-Shabaab, the armed wing of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). Al-Shabaab said it would target foreign troops and workers to avenge Ayro’s death.
The chief of the UN refugee agency UNHCR’s Mogadishu programme was recently abducted and is still being held.
Several other aid workers have been held captive for months, and the World Food Programme has seen three of its drivers slain this year.
“If this is indeed another example of a targeted killing of UN and non-UN humanitarian and development workers in Somalia, it is particularly outrageous and worrying at this critical time, when the need for humanitarian assistance is rapidly increasing,” Bowden said.
The UN said that it was taking urgent measures to protect staff working Somalia, which is in the grips of a humanitarian crisis.
A combination of conflict, drought and rising food and fuel prices have left millions of Somalis dependent on humanitarian aid. Bowden said that aid work would continue despite the increasing danger to UN staff.
Militants have been waging a guerrilla war against government troops since the UIC was ousted from power at the beginning of 2007 with Ethiopian assistance.
The interim government has been unable to achieve stability in the Horn of Africa country, which has been plagued by chaos and civil war since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.
A peace deal was agreed between moderate Islamists and the government in early June, but al-Shabaab has not signed the agreement and has vowed to keep fighting until Ethiopian troops leave Somalia.
- Al-Shabaab militants withdraw from Somali capital - Aug 07, 2011
- Top UN official killed in Somalia: reports - Jul 07, 2008
- 20 dead in Mogadishu fighting - Jun 19, 2010
- Aid agencies rethinking Somali position as attacks increase - Jul 15, 2008
- Politicians among 60 dead in Somalia clashes (Second Lead) - Aug 24, 2010
- Unicef concerned over escalating conflict in Somalia - Nov 16, 2011
- Somali gunmen kidnap two UN workers - Jun 28, 2008
- 10 politicians among 42 dead in Somalia clashes (Lead) - Aug 24, 2010
- Somali Islamists storm broadcaster - Sep 20, 2010
- 10 dead in suicide blast at Mogadishu airport - Sep 09, 2010
- 9,000 displaced in Somalia violence - May 27, 2012
- UAE launches relief programme in Somalia - Jul 31, 2011
- Somali insurgents ban UN mine agency - Dec 18, 2009
- Somali insurgents vow revenge against US for Al Qaeda raid - Sep 15, 2009
- Somali gunmen releases abducted UN workers (Lead) - Jun 29, 2008
Tags: aid workers, brutal slaying, bula, capital mogadishu, critical time, hashi, humanitarian assistance, humanitarian coordinator, humanitarian crisis, islamic courts, islamic militant group, mark bowden, osman ali, refugee agency, south mogadishu, spokesman sean mccormack, un development programme, urgent measures, us state department, world food programme