Killing of UN Staff Member in Somalia Draws Condemnation

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A staff member of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was killed on Monday morning in an attack by an armed group in the Somali port city of Merka.

With the recent killing of the UN staff member making headlines, the United Nations in Somalia today expressed condemnation of the killing of a humanitarian worker

Reports say Yassin Mohamed Hassan, 32-year-old, a Somali national, had served with the agency in different positions for four years.

Mr. Hassan has been working in the Merka area as part of a FAO’s mission that was overseeing irrigation infrastructure rehabilitation works.

drought
Somali children stand at a camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu. Somalia is affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. UN Photo/Stuart Price

“The UN reminds all actors in Somalia of the neutral and impartial nature of humanitarian action and appeals to all parties to permit aid workers to continue to safely serve all those in need in the country, wherever they are.” -Mark Bowden, Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia

Mr. Bowden says as civilians continue to be the victims of ongoing conflict, the UN demands that all parties minimize the impact of conflict on civilians.

Mr. Hassan’s case illustrates that humanitarian workers around the world who are working on the frontlines are too often bear the brunt of attacks on aid providers.

In December 2011, two World Food Programme employees and an employee of the Doyale NGO have been killed by a gunman in Somalia.

WFP released the names of the three men, Muhyedin Yarrow, Mohamed Salad, and Abdulahi Ali.

The World Food Programme agency has condemned the killing saying this violent act illustrates the risks that relief workers face in one of the world’s most dangerous places.

Reports say since August 2011, 20 humanitarian workers have been killed in Somalia while working to bring aid to the suffering Somalians.

UN humanitarian agencies and their partners have been helping Somalis deal with the impact of drought particularly famine that plagues Somalia.

In July this year, Somalia’s National constitution assembly (NCA) for the first time has convened in Mogadishu to adopt the new provisional constitution for war-torn Somalia.

The meeting was scheduled before final ratification of the constituion by a national referendum.

The National Constituent Assembly (NCA) is composed of 825 delegates chosen by traditional elders. The elders are reportedly representing all Somali clans.

Reports says the meeting at former police academy in Mogadishu was under AMISOM protection for nine days.

NCA is tasked with the adoption of the new constitution. In addition, the NCA is responsible for the selection of the new lawmakers of the next parliament of Somalia before August 20, 2012, the ending period of the current UN backed Transitional Federal Government.

The United States has welcomed the convening of Somalia’s National Constituent Assembly (NCA).

The launch of the NCA is a key milestone in completing the political transition in Somalia.

The United States is deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency that is occurring in parts of Somalia, the ongoing conflict and political instability within Somalia, and the escalating refugee crisis across the region.

The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa region, now providing over $750 million in life-saving assistance to those in need. This assistance has reached nearly 4.6 million people, many of whom would otherwise have died from starvation or related diseases.

The United States remains committed to breaking the cycle of hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa and to this end will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and call on others to join it in supporting the UN’s $1.5 billion 2012 Consolidated Appeal for Somalia.

Somalia has been in constant wars for past two past decades since the collapse of the Somali state in January 21, 1991. Millions of lives were lost and countless number of people had been internally displaced.

Somalia is the country worst affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.