NEWS 2005



SOMALIA: Peace activist shot dead in Mogadishu

NAIROBI, 11 July (IRIN) - Unidentified assailants shot and killed a prominent Somali peace activist Abdulkadir Yahya Ali on Monday during an early morning raid on his home in Mogadishu, the UN and a family member said.

"A group of criminals attacked his home at around 2:30 [2330 GMT] in the morning and shot him," Ahmed Nur, Yahya's cousin, said. The assailants, he added, had driven to his home in two "technicals" [pick-up trucks with mounted guns].

The motive for the killing had not been established, Nur said.

Yahya was the co-founder and director of the Centre for Research and Dialogue. The centre is affiliated to the War Torn Societies Project International, which focuses on activities to overcome conflict, peace-building and reconciliation.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Maxwell Gaylard, strongly condemned the murder.

"We are shocked and dismayed by this assassination and send our sincere condolences to his family and friends," Gaylard said in a statement, describing Yahya as "a committed advocate for peace and reconciliation".

"His optimism never faltered," Gaylard added. "This is a great loss to Mogadishu and Somalia at this particular time when people of his courage and tenacity are most needed."

On 5 July, a committee monitoring the Somali peace process warned that the reported increase in weapons entering the country in violation of a UN embargo and continuing differences between Somali leaders were fuelling tension in the Horn of Africa nation.
"The international community calls the attention of all Somali leaders as well as regional and other countries to the 1992 [UN] arms embargo on Somalia and recalls declarations by all Somali leaders to avoid arms as a solution to differences," the joint Co-ordination and Monitoring Committee said in a statement.

Somalia has had no functional central authority for the past 14 years, following the collapse in 1991 of the government of Muhammad Siyad Barre. Civil war erupted in the country soon after Barre was toppled, as various factions and rival warlords fought for power.

In October 2004, a transitional government was established in Nairobi, Kenya. The government is currently in the process of trying to set itself up in Somalia.