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Africa
UN official shot dead in Somalia
Development programme head is latest victim of attacks on aid workers.
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2008 21:25 GMT

The head of the United Nations development programme in Somalia has been shot dead in the capital, Mogadishu.

Unknown attackers opened fire on people leaving a mosque on Sunday night, killing Osman Ahmed Ali and wounding his son and another man, according to witnesses.

"The gunmen shot Ahmed as he was leaving evening prayers in the mosque in Bulohube. He was taken to hospital where he died because of his wounds," a UN official told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

Masteho Abubakr Yusus, Ahmed's wife, confirmed that her husband had died at the African Union hospital after being shot in the head.

The shooting occurred a day after an explosion killed a Somali official, his wife and four other people in Mogadishu.

Aid workers in the largely lawless country have frequently been subjected to attacks from armed groups.

On June 21, Hassan Mohamed Ali, head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees organisation in Mogadishu, was abducted from his home on the outskirts of the capital.

UN officials have repeatedly appealed to the Somali government and armed groups opposed to the government to spare aid workers, but they  have been forced to scale down operations due to the increased insecurity.
  
The African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) has deployed 2,600 peacekeepers in Somalia - well short of a promised 8,000 troops - and so far it has failed to stem the violence and unrest.

At least 2.6 million Somalis are facing hunger due to acute food shortages caused by a prolonged drought, insecurity and high inflation. The UN's famine monitors have warned that the figure could hit 3.5 million by the end of the year.

Source:
Agencies
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