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UN refugee agency vehicle ambushed in Somalia

UN refugee agency vehicle ambushed in Somalia

Children at camp for internally displaced people (IDP)
Two staff members of the United Nations refugee agency narrowly escaped with their lives when their vehicle was ambushed in the north-eastern Somali region of Puntland over the weekend.

A group of armed militia men blocked the road with a car as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) vehicle, carrying an international staff member and a local driver, was passing through the town of Garowe. The driver managed to reverse the vehicle and drive away from the scene; more than 20 bullet holes were found in the vehicle. Police accompanying the vehicle arrested four suspects.

In a statement, UNHCR expressed shock over the attack and called on the Puntland authorities to take strong measures to ensure the perpetrators were brought to justice.

UNHCR has three offices in Puntland, which provide assistance to internally-displaced Somalis and asylum seekers and refugees from other countries.

The security situation in the region has deteriorated over the past months, making the delivery of assistance to vulnerable people increasingly difficult. International non-governmental organisations (NGOs) pulled out of Puntland last year after several abductions and other attacks.