Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Aid worker shot dead in ambush in Somalia


07 Dec 2010
Source: alertnet // Katy Migiro
A quarter of Somalia's population needs humanitarian aid due to conflict and drought. Here a displaced girl is seen at a camp in south Mogadishu. REUTERS/Omar Faruk
NAIROBI (AlertNet) – An aid worker with Horn Relief has been killed in Somalia and a second wounded after their vehicles were ambushed by armed men as they were on their way to distribute cash, the agency said.
The incident occurred in the Sanaag region of the breakaway state of Somaliland on Saturday.
“Adan Ibrahim Mohamed, a security guard, was killed, and another, Abdillahi Ahmed Ali Salad, a community mobiliser, was injured during the incident,” Horn Relief said in a statement released late on Monday.
Mohamed had been working for Horn Relief for over six years. He was shot at point blank range.
“Horn Relief is deeply saddened by this news and is supporting staff and the family of the deceased through this difficult time,” the statement said.
In the past two years, 47 humanitarian workers have been killed in Somalia and 35 abducted.
Insecurity in the Horn of Africa country, mired in conflict since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, has forced nearly all aid agencies to bar expatriate staff from working there.
A quarter of population is in need of humanitarian assistance due to conflict and drought.
Horn Relief’s cash grants were being given to 4,800 vulnerable families affected by drought, primarily women-headed households, the disabled and the destitute.
Degan Ali, executive director of Horn Relief, said the aid agency was not the target.
The money was being delivered by a local money transfer company, known as a hawala.
Horn Relief’s two staff were travelling 70 km behind the hawala and came across the bandits, who had been holding the money transfer staff for almost an hour.
“It was almost accidental that they stumbled into an ambush,” said Ali.
Some of the stolen money has been returned by the thieves’ clan.
“We are still waiting for other clans’ groups to organise themselves and we are hopeful they are going to get most, if not all, of the money back,” Ali told AlertNet.
Elders and clan leaders are largely responsible for the rule of law in Somalia. When aid workers or sailors are kidnapped, it is clan leaders who negotiate for their release.
“The rule of law is the clan and the clan is the insurance system. If you steal from one clan, there's a likelihood of retaliation,” Ali said.
It is the first security incident Horn Relief has experienced in almost eight years of successful cash distribution.

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