UN officer reported kidnapped in Somalia

June 22nd, 2008 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Mogadishu (Somalia), June 22 (DPA) The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) ’s top representative was abducted overnight at Elesha Biyaha, south of the Somalian capital, residents said. Hassan Mohamed Ali, popularly known as Keynaan, was abducted around 9 p.m. from his home when a group of heavily-armed men in two vehicles stormed his home.

“They knocked on the door of his home and then entered, taking the officer by force,” Seleh Hussein, a resident, told DPA.

Hundreds of people - mainly women and children - were early Sunday taking part in local demonstrations against the kidnapping, residents said.

Many aid workers have been abducted since Al Qaeda’s top operative in the country, Aden Hashi Ayro, was killed in a US air strike May 1.

Ayro, who was trained in Afghanistan by the radical Taliban movement, was one of the leaders of the insurgency against the interim Somali government and its Ethiopian allies.

Islamists have been waging a guerrilla war against government troops since being 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 that has been plagued by chaos and civil war since 1991.

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