Top UN officials denounce killing of veteran staffer in Mogadishu

Top UN officials denounce killing of veteran staffer in Mogadishu

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today strongly condemned the killing of Osman Ali Ahmed, the acting head of its office in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and the world body’s top official in the war-torn nation.

Officials from across the United Nations system have strongly condemned the killing of Osman Ali Ahmed, the acting head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) office in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Mr. Ahmed was shot yesterday by unidentified gunmen as he left a mosque in Mogadishu with family members.

“A 14-year veteran of UNDP, Mr. Ahmed dedicated his life to the betterment of his country while working under very difficult circumstances during some of Somalia’s most turbulent times,” according to a statement issued by UNDP.

“We extend our deepest and most sincere condolences to his wife and family and wish his son, who was wounded in the attack, a full and speedy recovery,” UNDP said.

The killing is the latest in a string of attacks against UN staff in the country, which has not had a functioning government since 1991 and is facing worsening security and humanitarian conditions.

“The killing of Osman Ali Ahmed is a loss not only for the United Nations but also for the Somali people, who are the ultimate victims when humanitarian workers and aid officials are targeted in this way,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.

Mr. Ban encouraged all Somalis “to reflect on this latest senseless act of violence and to work together in the search for peace and reconciliation.”

Mark Bowden, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, also expressed concern at the incident, stating that “it is particularly outrageous and worrying at this critical time, when the need for humanitarian assistance is rapidly increasing.”

According to UN agencies, as many as 2.6 million Somalis are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, noted that the main victims of the shooting are the innocent Somali people who desperately need the assistance that the UN and others provide.

“However, this killing will not deter the UN from carrying on its vital work inside the country,” he said.

The President of the General Assembly added his voice to the chorus of condemnation of the murder, expressing his grave concern that once again a UN staff member was a deliberate target of terrorism.

“The attack clearly demonstrates that terrorism is not only a threat to the values and principles of the United Nations but a very concrete threat to its physical existence and actual work on the ground,” he said in a statement.