Friday, July 24, 2009

Al-Shabaab Takes Over Two United Nations Offices in Somalia

Via Shimron Letters -

The Somali armed rebel group, Al Shabaab, looted two UN compounds and demanded an end to UN relief work in the impoverished Horn of Africa nation, the UN said Monday.

Al Shabaab, which has been trying to overthrow the transitional government in Mogadishu, looted the UN compound in Baidoa of emergency communication equipment, forcing the organisation to evacuate personnel and suspend its operations.

The UN said it was powerless when challenged by the rebels because the compound had no security guards.

In Wajid, protected by a minimum security, the rebels entered the compound of the World Food Programme and drove away with two vehicles and some furniture that did not belong to the UN.

“These two events happened as Al Shabaab broadcast on Monday a message on local Somali radio calling for the closing of offices” of several UN agencies, including the UN Development Programme, the UN said.

“The UN is reassessing the situation on the ground and is optimistic that the minimal conditions on the ground will be restored to allow the critical humanitarian work to resume in Baidoa and continue elsewhere in Somalia,” the UN said.

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