UPDATE: 3:16 p.m. EST -- The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said Monday that one of its staff members, Amina Noor Mohamed, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in Somalia's capital city. Mohamed, who had been working as a senior community services assistant with the agency in Mogadishu since 2011, was attacked while traveling in a car driven by a staff member from a UNHCR partner organization, who was also killed.
“While the details of this senseless act of violence are still being investigated, it serves as another stark reminder of the dangers many humanitarian workers face in their daily work. On behalf of all UNHCR staff, I wish to convey our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to Amina’s family, friends and to our entire team in Somalia,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in the statement obtained by International Business Times.
Mohamed is survived by her husband and two young children. A minute of silence will be held in her memory at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva at 11 a.m. local time Tuesday.
A female United Nations staff member in Somalia was shot and killed in her car in the capital Mogadishu on Monday, a U.N. representative said. Local law enforcement at the Hodan district deputy commissioner's office in northwestern Mogadishu, where the shooting took place, said a second person affiliated with an international aid group who was in the same car was also killed.
Gunmen arrived in a vehicle outside Hotel Maka al-Mukaram, shot at the car carrying the U.N. official, then drove away. The attackers were still at large, authorities said.
Conflicting reports from local journalists appeared on social media Monday, some saying two U.N. officials were killed, and others saying one of the victims worked at Action Africa Help International (AAH-I), a nonprofit organization based in Nairobi, Kenya.
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) December 14, 2015
#BREAKING: Suspected Al Shabab gunmen killed Amina Mohamed and Abdirisak Ade,who were working UNHCR and AAH Organizations
— Hussien Mohamed (@HussienM12) December 14, 2015
— Live From Somalia (@Tuuryare_Africa) December 14, 2015
Meanwhile, African Union peacekeeping troops thwarted a coastal attack by suspected al-Shabab militants at Mogadishu International Airport on Monday, a local radio station reported. The attack occurred as Somali leaders from across the East African country were meeting to discuss an appropriate electoral process that would ensure a peaceful and democratic transition of power in 2016.
Al-Shabab has not yet claimed responsibility for the foiled attack, but the Islamic militant group regularly carries out attacks in the capital city since they were expelled three years ago by U.N.-backed forces.
Many rural areas of Somalia are controlled by al-Shabab, and the terror group has imposed a strict version of Shariah law there. The Somali-based group emerged in 2006 from the now-defunct Islamic Courts Union that controlled Mogadishu. Al-Shabab launched its own insurgency on major Somali cities by 2009. The militants have recently increased efforts to oust the United Nations-backed government and to regain control of territories it lost to Somali and international forces around 2012.