U.N. Suspends Somalia Operations – By The Media Line Staff

February 12th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

The United Nations is suspending operations in Somalia, following attacks on its compound in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

Three grenades were hurled at the compound on Friday. (more…)

The United Nations is suspending operations in Somalia, following attacks on its compound in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

Three grenades were hurled at the compound on Friday.

In a statement issued on Monday, the U.N. said that although there were no casualties in the attack, it will be forced to suspend operations in Mogadishu and two other major towns – Afgooye and Kismayo – for the rest of the week.

The U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says several international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also temporarily suspended staff travel to the countryside, where similar attacks have taken place in the past week.

There are already obstacles to aid deliveries because of the security situation in Somalia, where aid workers are often targeted.

Three employees working with the international aid group Doctors Without Borders were killed last month by a roadside bomb near the southern Somali town Kismayo. The organization pulled 87 foreign employees from the country following the attack, but several hundred local employees are still operating in the country.

Somalia has not had a stable government in 16 years.

The capital and other parts of the country were briefly under the control of Islamists in 2006, but these were defeated by the Somali army with backing from Ethiopian troops in January 2007.

The Islamists have since regrouped and are gaining in strength. There have been almost daily attacks on civilians, security forces, and peacekeepers.

Human rights and aid organizations estimate that some 6,500 people were killed in Somalia last year.

The Somali prime minister, Nour Hassan Hussein, is denying reports that he traveled to Eritrea to meet with Somali opposition groups, according to the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. Somalia accuses Eritrea of meddling in its affairs and supporting opposition groups.

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