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UNHCR Confirms Death of Norwegian Aid Worker in Liberia

The U.N. refugee agency confirmed Tuesday the death of a Norwegian aid worker who had been missing for more than a week in Liberia. The incident brings to three the number of aid workers killed in an ambush.

Liberian officials have identified the body of Norwegian aid worker Kaare Lund, who went missing more than a week ago near the Ivory Coast border.

Two Liberian aid workers, Emmanuel Sharpolu and Musa Kita, were traveling with Mr. Lund when their car ran into an ambush on February 28. All three men have now been confirmed dead.

They had been traveling to inspect a project on Liberia's eastern border near Toe Town, which had been the scene of heavy fighting between Liberian rebels and government troops.

The bodies of the two Liberian aid workers were identified late last week, but officials were not able to identify Mr. Lund's body until Monday. It was reportedly found lying on the ground next to their burned out vehicle.

All three men worked for the same aid agency, the U.S.-based Adventist Development and Relief Agency, or ADRA. The agency is assisting Ivorian refugees who have crossed the border into Liberia to escape fighting in Ivory Coast. Mr. Lund was the director of ADRA's Norwegian office, while Mr. Sharpolu was the acting director of the Liberia office, and Mr. Kita was their driver.

A spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency in Geneva expressed shock and sadness at the killings of the three humanitarian workers.

ADRA said it does not intend to pull out of Liberia, a step many relief agencies take at least temporarily when their staff members are killed on the job in war-torn countries.

ADRA issued a statement saying in the wake of the tragedy, its commitment to the people of Liberia is strong and unswerving.