Gunmen kill UN employee in Somali capital Mogadishu
Geneva (AFP) – Unidentified gunmen shot dead an employee of the UN refugee agency in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Monday, in an attack that also left another person dead, a UN statement said.
“It is with great sadness that UNHCR has learned of the killing of one of our colleagues, Amina Noor Mohamed, this afternoon in Mogadishu, Somalia,” the UNHCR statement said.
The Geneva-based agency said Mohammed was killed by “unknown gunmen while travelling in a private vehicle driven by a staff member from a UNHCR partner organization who also lost his life in the attack.”
While there was no indication of who was responsible, aid workers including UN staffers have previously been targeted by Shebab Islamist militants battling a weak, internationally-backed government.
UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres said the attack “serves as another stark reminder of the dangers many humanitarian workers face in their daily work.”
Mohammed, who had worked in Mogadishu since 2011, left behind two young children, aged two and three months, UNHCR said.
Guterres added that UNHCR staff would observe a moment of silence for Mohammed at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday.
Four employees of the UN’s children’s agency (UNICEF) were killed in April when Shebab members set off a huge bomb that ripped through a staff bus in the northeastern town of Garowe.
In claiming that attack, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab insurgents, branded the UN a “colonisation force in Somalia”.
In June 2013, Shebab gunmen stormed a UN compound in Mogadishu, killing 16.
The Shebab emerged as a Somali Islamist group in 2006 in Mogadishu.
They have since staged attacks across the wider region, including the 2013 raid at the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi and a double bombing on the night of the 2010 World Cup Final in Uganda’s capital Kampala.
Leading international organisations like the UN and Red Cross have warned of rising threats to humanitarian workers in conflicts, which are increasingly fought by non-state armed groups that deliberate target staffers of foreign agencies.