19 May 2009

Somalia: Al Shabaab Fighters Raid UN Offices, Confiscate Equipment

Islamist hardliners waging war against Somalia's U.N.-recognized transitional government have raided U.N. offices and confiscated equipment, Radio Garowe reports.

There were no U.N. personnel present at the offices in Jowhar, the capital of Middle Shabelle region that was overtaken by Al Shabaab on Sunday. U.N. officers were evacuated from Jowhar before the Al Shabaab takeover, sources added.

"Al Shabaab fighters armed with weapons broke down the doors and took equipment," a security guard at a U.N. compound in Jowhar said on the condition of anonymity.

Offices raided include the UNICEF compound and MSF offices in Jowhar, local sources reported.

No one was hurt during the raids and Al Shabaab commanders did nothing to stop the raids, locals said.

Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, who was asked about the raids by the BBC Somali Service, declined to comment but stated that Al Shabaab would "return the equipment."

He called on U.N. and other aid agencies to "calm down and to continue working" in Middle Shabelle region.

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