UN staff member killed

Unknown assailants shot and killed a local employee of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) in the Abudwak district of Galgadud, central Somalia, on 11 September, officials said.

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Farah Warsame Diriye, 37, an officer with the WHO's polio programme, was on his way to inspect a polio campaign in the eastern part of Abudwak when his vehicle was ambushed, said Abdirizak Hassan Awl, the district commissioner.

"Two gunmen killed him. It was a deliberate killing," he said.

Awl said elders in the town were meeting to try to bring the culprits to book and reduce the tension in the town. "We want to make sure that this does not get out of hand and lead to more deaths."

He said he was optimistic the situation would be contained.

WHO's Somalia office said in a statement issued on 12 September that it was "deeply saddened" by the killing.

"Mr Warsame’s untimely and unfortunate death is yet another reminder of the continuous danger in which health workers are carrying out their day-to-day activities inside Somalia. The deteriorating security situation is impeding access to necessary healthcare for the already vulnerable population," the statement read.

"WHO wishes to emphasise that the killing of its polio officer was not a targeted action against the UN or the humanitarian community," it added.

The agency, however, said that although deeply saddened by the death of Diriye, who had dedicated the last 10 years of his life to eradicating polio in his native country, it will continue its efforts to support the Somali population.

Diriye, who was buried on 11 September, leaves a widow and eight children.

ah/mw