On 29 October, a vehicle forced entry into the UNDP compound in Hargeysa, Somaliland, tragically killing two United Nations' staff members in an explosion that also caused extensive damage to the buildings. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) for Somalia, Mark Bowden, in a statement issued on 30 October, sent a message of condolences to the families and colleagues of the two staff members. The two were employees of the UN Department of Safety and Security and the UN Office for Project Services. They both left behind a wife and children. An additional six staff members were injured, two of them, who sustained serious injuries were evacuated to Djibouti for immediate medical attention. This comes less than two weeks since a WFP (17 October) and a UNICEF (19 October) staff members were shot dead in Marka and Xudur respectively. The UN has lost eight staff members in Somalia since January. On 25 October, a woman who worked for a local NGO IIDA was shot dead in Guriel village, Dhuusamarreeb, Galgaduud region, as she returned from work. The motive for her killing is unknown. A total of 24 NGO aidrelated workers have been killed in Somalia since January.
In a message to the Somali people on the occasion of UN Day on 24 October, the RC/HC reiterated that with the increasing insecurity in Somalia, the UN is working on innovative and flexible approaches to ensure that those most in need are taken care of. He appealed to the Somalis to work with the UN and partners in finding solutions to allow safety and security to enable continued humanitarian and development work.
On 22 October, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-wha Kang, visited Dabaab refugee camps in northern Kenya, home of some 215,000 refugees, of whom 97% are Somalis. In the wake of continued fighting inside Somalia since 2007, close to 1.3 million have been displaced in-country while thousands more have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. According to UNHCR, some 4,500 Somalis have crossed into Kenya every month since January, with some making onward journeys to Libya, South Africa and other countries. Ms. Kang said, "Any lasting peace in Somalia must be based on accountability and justice for the serious violation of human rights committed by all sides throughout the Somali conflict."
Some 104 children aged between 15 and 18 were released from prison in Somaliland on 21 October following a presidential decree commemorating Idd al Fitr. This followed the enactment of the new Juvenile Justice Law for Somaliland in April 2008. A joint statement issued on 24 October by UNDP and UNICEF said many of the children were imprisoned for charges of truancy and disobedience to parents. Upon release, the children were provided with reintegration services, clothing, food allowances and transport back to their communities.
On 26 October, two WFP-contracted vessels transporting 18,500 metric tons of food arrived safely in Mogadishu from Mombasa under the escort of The Royal Netherlands Navy. The Dutch took over from the Canadian navy on 22 October.
Despite the challenges of access and fluid security in Somalia, WFP carried out various food distributions during the week. In Bakool region, 3,867 metric tons of food was distributed to some 290,963 beneficiaries. In Bossaso, Puntland, food assistance supported 45,132 IDPs and about 50,000 urban poor who can no longer afford the high cost of food due to inflation in the town. In Marka, Lower Shabelle region, some 119,961 beneficiaries received 1,647 metric tons of food while food distribution in Afgooye corridor is underway.
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