'Shock' at killing of UN employee in Somalia

The executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday she was “shocked” at the killing of an employee in Somalia, as Islamic insurgents continue to target aid workers.

Abdulkadir Diad Mohamed, who worked for the WFP as an administration and finance assistant, was apparently shot by armed men on Friday as he tried to escape following an abduction attempt, the WFP said.

The driver of the vehicle Mohamed was travelling in was also killed while a third member of the group escaped.

“I am shocked by this senseless and barbaric attack on one of our staff,” WFP executive director Josette Sheeran said in a statement.

Five drivers employed by WFP contractors have been killed so far this year.

Aid workers have been increasingly targeted for attacks since the man believed to be al-Qaeda’s top operative in Somalia, Aden Hashi Ayro, was killed on May 1 in a United States airstrike.

Ayro was the leader of Islamic militant group al-Shabaab, the armed wing of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). Al-Shabaab said it would target foreign troops and workers to avenge Ayro’s death.

Many foreigners are also abducted for ransom.

More than 20 aid workers have been killed in attacks this year alone. They include the head of the Mogadishu programme of the UN refugee agency.

Militants have been waging a guerrilla war against government troops since the UIC was ousted from power at the beginning of 2007 with Ethiopian assistance.

The interim government has been unable to achieve stability in the country, which has been plagued by chaos and civil war since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.

A peace deal was agreed between moderate Islamists and the government in early June, but al-Shabaab has not signed the agreement and has vowed to keep fighting until Ethiopian troops leave Somalia.—Sapa-dpa

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