UNICEF staff member killed in Southern Somalia

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

UNICEF today strongly condemned the killing of a Somali staff member who was shot on Sunday, 19 October, in Huddur, southern Somalia.
Water engineer, Mukhtar Mohammed Hassan, was shot at close range as he walked in town with friends after attending the mosque. According to reports, three gunmen shot into the air to disperse the crowd and then directly targeted Mukhtar.

Mukhtar worked with UNICEF providing technical supervision for UNICEF-supported water, sanitation and hygiene activities in Central and Southern Somalia.

Investigations into the circumstances and motive for the killing are underway.

"UNICEF condemns this senseless killing of a staff member, who was dedicated to UNICEF's mission to improve the lives of Somali children and women. Mukhtar played an important role in providing vulnerable communities with access to clean drinking water and sanitation in areas where the risk of water-based diseases is high," said UNICEF Deputy Representative, Hannan Sulieman.

"The UN reiterates its appeal for an end to acts of violence against humanitarian workers and again calls for safe access for our staff in order to support Somalis who are already living under extremely difficult circumstances", said Ms. Sulieman.

"We send our condolences to Mukhtar's family. Our colleague will be dearly missed but his contribution will not be forgotten", she noted.