UN to stop sending aid workers to northern Somalia after 4th death

21 October 2003

A senior United Nations humanitarian official today expressed "profound sorrow" at the killing of two British aid workers in northern Somalia and said no new UN workers would be sent to the area until it stabilizes.

The murders of two workers for the non-governmental organization SOS Children's Villages, by so far unidentified gunmen, follows by two weeks the murder of an Italian hospital director in the same area, known as Somaliland.

Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, called on the local authorities to take immediate action to find and prosecute those responsible for the killings and to ensure the safety and security of all aid workers in the area.

A total of four international aid workers have been killed in Somalia since mid-September.

As a result of these incidents, no additional workers will be allowed to travel to the region until the situation has stabilized, Mr. Egeland said.

An official in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said existing UN activities in the area would not be stopped but the 50 international staff would restrict their activities to the largest city in the area, Hargeysa.