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UN Condemns Shooting of Staff Member in Somalia

The United Nations is condemning the murder of a staff member in Somalia and has relocated more than a dozen staff members from the area.

Two unidentified gunmen shot and killed U.N. security officer Mohamuud Musse Gurage outside his home late Monday in the southern Somali port town of Kismayo.

As a result of the killing, 12 national and one international staff member have been moved out of the area.

The United Nations issued a statement condemning the killing and said that the de-facto authority in the region, the Juba Valley Alliance, is investigating the shooting.

The information officer for the U.N. Development Program's Somalia operation, Sandra Macharia, says she and her U.N. colleagues are shocked by the incident and that it has been a long time since the United Nations had lost a staff member in the volatile nation.

"You can imagine that we are quite concerned about it," said Ms. Macharia. "We take our security very seriously and we will monitor the situation, and then based on that, we'll see what happens."

Ms. Macharia says the United Nations has no idea who the gunmen were, why they killed Mr. Gurage, or when the relocated staff members will return to the area.

She says the United Nations was just in the process of setting up offices in Kismayo when the attack took place.

"The irony of the situation is that we were actually just re-engaging with Kismayo, because we had actually relocated from Kismayo last year after another of our security officers was kidnapped," she added. "So we left Kismayo and the J.V.A., the Juba Valley Alliance, had called us back and invited us in because they were having some flooding and needed some humanitarian assistance."

Somalia has been in chaos ever since Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. Factional leaders and their militias have battled for control over certain sections of the country.

July saw the assassination of prominent peace activist Abdulkadir Yahya Ali, while BBC producer Kate Peyton was gunned down in the capital in February.