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UN report eight aid workers killed, 12 others injured in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Attacks on aid workers delivering supplies in Somalia resulted in the death of eight staff and injuries of 12 others between January and September, the UN humanitarian agency said in a report on Friday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said some 90 violent incidents have impacted humanitarian organizations, resulting in the abduction of 18 people and the arrest and temporary detention of 13 others.

“Collateral damage from terrorist attacks in populated areas of Mogadishu has continued to account for the majority of the deaths and injuries, as well as for the destruction of humanitarian facilities and assets,” said the UN agency in its September humanitarian report.

The OCHA decried the number of violent incidents affecting humanitarian organizations in Somalia, saying it has remained high.

The Horn of Africa nation has been mired in conflict since civil war broke out in 1991 and is one of the most difficult countries for relief agencies to operate in.

The terrorist group al-Shabab has been targeting humanitarian workers, sometimes demanding ransom in order to free the hostages, according to media reports.

The UN report said the volatile security situation continues to impact on civilian lives and create a challenging environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, saying active hostilities in Lower Shabelle continue to cause displacements and disrupt humanitarian programming.

“As parties to the conflict continue to temporarily take control of smaller towns and villages—holding them for short durations that range from a couple of hours to a few days—the resultant anxiety and unpredictable security situation has led to increased displacements,” said the report.

According to OCHA, humanitarian organizations operating in the affected locations have been forced to scale down their activities or suspend operations after over 34,000 civilians fled areas of Lower Shabelle in the past two months.



17 Somali migrants return home from Tanzania

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The UN migration agency said on Friday that it has helped 17 Somali migrants to voluntarily return home from Tanzania following months of confinement in detention centers.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the returnees who returned home on Wednesday were rounded up by Tanzanian authorities as they embarked on an unsuccessful journey to South Africa.

“This assistance was provided in close coordination with the governments of Somalia and Tanzania and will enable the Somali returnees to build a future back home,” the IOM said in a statement.

It said the assistance includes medical check-ups, housing, group and psychosocial counseling, along with longer-term support towards developing job skills and starting up small businesses to have gainful employment and decent livelihoods.

The UN agency said the latest intervention was made under the auspices of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa

“The latest return will bring the number of Somalis assisted by IOM under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative to 82 since March 2017,” said the UN migration agency.

According to IOM, the Joint Initiative aims to assist at least 1,000 Somali returnees before March 2020, noting that the project has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.


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