Ban deplores ‘outrageous’ attack on UN office and other sites in northern Somalia

29 October 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has vehemently condemned the multiple attacks in northern Somalia today, which included a suicide car bombing at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) compound in Hargeisa that killed two UN staff and seriously injured six others, two of them critically.

“The Secretary-General deplores these outrageous acts of violence deliberately targeting innocent civilians and United Nations personnel who work tirelessly to alleviate the dire suffering of Somali citizens,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“He stresses the neutrality of the United Nations as well as humanitarian personnel, and urges all parties to support and facilitate the delivery of assistance to the Somali population,” the statement added.

The UNDP compound was hit by an explosion caused by a vehicle that had forced its way into the compound at approximately 10 a.m. local time.

“At present, we can confirm that two national UN staff have been killed, while two others were critically injured and medically evacuated to Djibouti,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.

The other explosions in the Hargeisa area, as well as in Puntland, did not involve UN premises.

Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since 1991, has been wracked with violence in recent months, despite the signing of a UN-brokered peace deal between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the rebel Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) aimed at ending the fighting.

The UN has been assisting peace efforts in the Horn of Africa nation through the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), led by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. To assist in these efforts, the Secretary-General today appointed Charles Petrie of France as his Deputy Special Representative for Somalia.

Mr. Petrie brings to this job 18 years of extensive experience, during which he has carried out policy, operational and developmental activities with the UN. He has served in various postings in several conflict settings in Africa, including in Somalia.


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