UN announces death of two more aid workers in Somalia

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The United Nations has announced the death of two more aid workers in the federal republic of Somalia, which occurred in a span of three months after similar incidents in the past, in what could put the Horn of Africa nation in a precarious position from a number of international partners.

UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA], the humanitarian agency under the UN, said at least 112 incidents involving aid workers were reported in the country within the last quarter, with most of them associated with violence.

According to the agency, the two workers died between January and March this year, with the victims being subjected to violence. It is not the first time the agency is reporting animosity and cruelty targeting its citizens in the Horn of Africa nation.

“At least 12 of these incidents [11 percent] involved violence against humanitarians. Such acts of violence encompassed coercion, extortion, intimidation, harassment, and verbal abuse,” OCHA said in its latest humanitarian report published Sunday.

The UN agency said a humanitarian worker lost his life due to a stray bullet during the recent conflict in Las Anod town in northern Somalia. “This unfortunate event serves as a poignant reminder of the perilous risks faced by humanitarian workers operating in conflict zones,” OCHA said.

Reports indicate the vehicle in question had been hired by a non-governmental organization and overturned in Goobweyn, southern Somalia, leading to the imminent death of one person besides injuring four other workers who were on board.

The coordination office further decried of restriction of movements in the country, with most of them being a result of ongoing military operations against the Al-Shabaab militants. For the last seven months, Somalia has been actively involved in operations against the group with assistance from members of the international community.

Further, the agency said security checkpoints, many of which are fee-bearing, hinder safe, timely, and unimpeded humanitarian access. The Al-Shabaab militants are also fond of erecting checkpoints in the Horn of Africa nation, which has been struggling with instability for the last three decades.