Somali Raiders Loot Port of Relief Food; More U.N. Troops Due With AM-Somalia Rdp, Bjt
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) _ Somali gunmen drove into Mogadishu’s port behind three tanks Friday, shot a U.N. peacekeeper through the lungs and made off with relief food, fuel and trucks meant to deliver aid to the starving, officials said.
The looters took up to 300 tons of food and 199 barrels of fuel, the U.N. World Food Program’s entire supply for emergency operations in Somalia, reported Irishman Brian Stockwell, a worker for the program. At least 25 trucks were stolen.
Carl Howorth, team leader for CARE relief agency in Somalia, radioed U.N. officials, ″They are looting everything.″ He said some gunmen were repulsed when they tried to board the relief ship Rattana Naree, tied up in Mogadishu.
The 1 p.m. raid hit international efforts to get food and medical relief to Somalia, where more than a million people are at risk of starving. Mogadishu is one of two ports to which relief shipments can be brought.
An unarmed Egyptian U.N. peacekeeper was badly wounded and another peacekeeper, a Czech, was grazed in the head by a bullet when looters fired on their clearly marked U.N. vehicle shortly before the raid.
Maj. Mustafa Mohammed, about 30, one of the 50-man unarmed U.N. observer force in Somalia, was shot in the lungs and airlifted to Nairobi, Kenya, Egyptian Ambassador Fathi Hassan reported.
Hassan said the observers had been receiving threats.
A team of 500 Pakistani U.N. peacekeepers is due to arrive next month to guard the capital’s port.
U.N. officials said the United Nations and the United Somali Congress, led by clan chief Mohamed Farrah Aidid, were sending security officers to the port. Reporters who went there found guns all around and a large container now blocking the entrance.
U.N. officials said the trucks were to have taken grain to north Mogadishu, controlled by clans opposed to Aidid.
A permanent Somali force of about 900, composed of men from different militias and former police, guards the port, but the loyalty of many of the guards is open to question.
In New York, the U.N. Security Council late Friday approved sending 3,500 troops to guard food shipments in Somalia. It authorized an expenditure of $129.9 million for six months to set up four regional offices in Somalia.
Some merchants selling food on the black market are believed to be in league with the looters.
The city was the scene of tremendous clan fighting from November to March, using all types of heavy weapons. Tanks were employed widely and are still readily available.