MOGADISHU – Gunmen shot dead a Somali security officer working for the United Nations food program (WFP) in the western town of Beledweyn on Tuesday, officials said.
Ali Farah Amey was head of security at the UN compound in Beledweyn, a flashpoint town which lies near the Ethiopian border, some 300 kilometres (180 miles) north of Mogadishu.
“They shot him several times in the head and shoulders and he died on the spot,” a local UN staffer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The victim was having breakfast at a local restaurant when the unidentified gunmen attacked him.
Sheikh Abdallah Ibrahim, a local Islamist official, confirmed the incident.
“There were around three guys armed with handguns, they killed the WFP security officer and escaped but we are still hunting them,” he told AFP.
UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations have come under increasing pressure in Somalia, where violence has made it very difficult to deliver much-needed relief to the population.
In regions bordering the province that includes Beledweyn, the administration run by the al-Qaida-linked Shebab have imposed very strict rules on the operations of foreign aid organisations.
The province of Hiraan, of which Beledweyn is the capital, remains disputed by several factions, including the Shebab and their one-time allies from the Hezb al-Islam movement.
Source: AFP, December 22, 2009