Thursday, October 18, 2007

WFP Official kidnapped in Somalia

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) says that its Mogadishu office was stormed yesterday by armed members of the Somali National Security Service (NSS), who are now holding UN official Idris Osman in a jail cell. According to the WFP, 50-60 men entered the UN compound around 0815 Wednesday morning (local time), a violation of the international law barring authorities from entering UN premises without prior UN permission. The WFP has yet to be given a reason for the incident, though there is some speculation that it may be related to the distribution of food assistance that began last Monday. As a result of Osman’s detention by what are supposed to be Somali government forces, WFP has temporarily suspended its distribution programmes.

AFP reports that a UN official was dispatched Thursday morning to Mogadishu to try to resolve the situation. There is a simple website that claims to be affiliated with the Somali government and the NSS, but it has no information on the incident.

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