Somalia: UN envoy condemns deadly attack on medical convoy near Mogadishu

Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay. Photo: AU/UN/IST/Tobin Jones

18 December 2013 – The top United Nations envoy in Somalia has strongly condemned the killing of six people during an attack on a medical convoy outside Mogadishu today.

"Somalia, still struggling to build up its health services, relies on the goodwill of NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and medical personnel who work in incredibly difficult conditions to save Somali lives," said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, in a statement.

According to the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), which Mr. Kay heads, reports indicate that a convoy carrying medical personnel to a health facility west of the capital came under attack by unknown gunmen who killed four doctors – one Somali and three Syrians – and a Somali driver and guard. At least two other passengers were seriously wounded.

"I condemn this attack and those who continue to seek to halt the country's progress. I urge the Federal Government of Somalia to thoroughly investigate this heinous crime and bring those responsible to justice," said the envoy, expressing his sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives, and wishing those injured a speedy recovery.

Mr. Kay’s condemnation of the deadly attack follows an earlier statement in which he expressed broad concern over recent local conflicts and clashes in the Horn of Africa nation and called on the Government to seriously address the issue.

“The Federal Government of Somalia must continue to take these incidents seriously,” he said in the statement, which noted that clashes have been reported near Jowhar in Middle Shabelle, some areas around Beledweyne in Hiraan and around K50 in Lower Shabelle.

He also warned that violent conflicts in several parts of Somalia could threaten the country's progress towards peace and stability as well as the rights of thousands of affected citizens.

“Somali national security forces on the ground need to be inclusive and to uphold law and order. Elders and leaders need to find peaceful solutions,” Mr. Kay stressed.

The clashes, however, continue to cause death, injury, displacement and the destruction of property and crops in the fields, often affecting those from smaller or minority clans and communities.

While welcoming concern voiced publicly by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud yesterday and the efforts already under way to resolve disputes, Mr. Kay emphasized that “without a decisive response, these incidents may provoke a backlash that could grow into a new and more severe round of local conflicts.”

The UN envoy also urged the Somali Government to investigate fully what has happened. “Those who have broken the law should face justice,” underscored Mr. Kay, adding that “the Government must also protect the land and livelihoods of the rightful occupants.”

Meanwhile, “the UN will continue to monitor the situation and offer support to peace building and reconciliation efforts,” said Mr. Kay.

UNSOM was established by the Security Council in June to support the Government and the people of the country in their quest for security and prosperity.


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