Joint UN aid mission discusses humanitarian assistance in Somalias capital

24 January 2007United Nations officials travelled to Somalia’s war-ravaged capital of Mogadishu today to discuss aid and other issues with representatives from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which ousted Islamist groups with Ethiopian help. “The mission took place despite a small security incident in which four mortars were fired after the aircraft carrying the UN personnel landed. There were no UN casualties. We cannot speculate that the United Nations was deliberately targeted, and the UN staff travelled back to Nairobi after completing their tasks,” spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York. Until Ethiopian-backed government forces pushed the Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC) out of Mogadishu and much of the rest of the country last month, the TGF had been isolated in the provincial town of Baidoa in a country that has had no functioning central government since the regime of Muhammad Siad Barre was toppled in 1991. Last week the UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Eric Laroche, urged the international aid community to set up substantial operations in Mogadishu, and UN agencies are already providing food and other aid to tens of thousands of flood victims and others who have fled the fighting in the south and north of the country. read more