UN condemns killing of staff member

The United Nations has strongly condemned the killing of one of its staff members on Monday by unknown gunmen in the Somali port city of Kismayo, some 500 km south of the capital, Mogadishu.

Mohamuud Muse Gurage, a Somali national, was walking toward his house from the UN offices when gunmen attacked and fatally shot him.

"Gurage was returning to his home at approximately 1930 hours [local time] [1630GMT] on Monday 3 October 2005 when he was shot and killed by two men," a statement issued by the UN Development Programme's Somalia office in Nairobi, Kenya, said.

"He was taken to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival," the statement added.

It was not immediately clear why Gurage was killed or who was behind the incident, but the Juba Valley Alliance - which controls the area - was reportedly investigating the incident.

"They [the alliance] have mounted security sweeps around the town today [Tuesday] looking for the individuals who committed the crime," a business source in Kismayo told IRIN.

"They are very angry that this happened at a time when they were trying to convince the UN and other aid agencies to come back into Kismayo," he added.

The UN statement said as a consequence of the killing, the UN had relocated 12 national staff and one international staff member from the area. Gurage, 42, had been the UN area field security coordinating assistant in Kismayo for the last two years, UNDP said.