3 Somali Aid Workers Killed, 2 Of Them With WFP

Published December 23, 2011 12:54PM (EST)

HARGEISA, Somalia (AP) — A resident of a refugee camp shot and killed three aid workers in central Somalia on Friday, including two workers with the U.N.'s World Food Program, a town elder said.

Mataban town elder Mohamud Sheik Abdi said the three Somalis were shot and killed Friday morning as they returned from a camp for families displaced by violence and famine. Abdi said the shooting appeared to have been over a personal matter.

WFP confirmed the killing of two of its staff members and the death of a third person working for a cooperating aid group.

"The individual then gave himself up and is currently in the custody of the local authorities. WFP operations have been temporarily suspended in Mataban," the statement said.

Hassan Madar, an eyewitness to the shootings, said the aid workers had been counting refugees in the camp.

"They were supervising the camps since yesterday. The murderer surrendered to Ahlu Sunna fighters after the killings and he was then taken to another location," Madar said, referring to a Somali militia.

Al-Shabab — the Islamist fighters who rule much of the country's southern and central regions — last month barred 16 aid groups from operating in areas under their control. The militants accused aid groups of espionage or anti-Islamic activities.

Somalia hasn't had a fully functioning government since 1991.

By Salon Staff

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