American Killed, U.N. Warns of Attacks by Foreign Terrorists
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) _ An American civilian who worked for the United Nations was killed and two other foreigners were wounded Saturday in a carjacking.
In a separate development, U.N. officials issued a warning of possible terrorist attacks by the Muslim fundamentalist group Hezbollah.
U.N. military spokesman Maj. Dave Stockwell said Gen. Mohamed Farrah Aidid, the militia leader who controls south Mogadishu, ″will be held responsible if such attacks occur.″
Stockwell said intelligence reports indicate ″the presence in Mogadishu of an unspecified number of individuals, possibly Hezbollah fundamentalists, with expertise in car bombings.″
Aidid, who isn’t known to be a Muslim fundamentalist and says he’s a nationalist fighting foreign occupation, has been blamed for masterminding attacks on U.N. troops that have killed dozens of U.N. soldiers since June.
Kai Lincoln, 23, was fatally wounded in a shootout when four gunmen stopped the white U.N. vehicle carrying him and two other U.N. workers from their residential compound near the airport to U.N. headquarters.
One of the attackers was killed and the other foreigners, a Liberian woman and a Norwegian man, were wounded.
The other carjackers sped off with the car.
Lincoln’s hometown wasn’t immediately known, said Lilia Vasquez, U.N. spokeswoman in New York. He arrived in Mogadishu in May and had worked in the U.N. information and operations center.
″Today we have all suffered a great loss,″ said U.N. special envoy Adm. Jonathan Howe. ″Kai Lincoln was totally dedicated to the United Nations and to the recovery of Somalia. His enthusiasm and commitment inspired us all.″
A memorial service was planned for Sunday in Mogadishu.
Since the Somalia operation began in December, at least 33 Americans have died, including 26 soldiers killed in action, based on Pentagon figures and separate reports of civilian deaths.
Neither Stockwell nor U.S. military spokesman Col. Steve Rausch would specify which country might be behind an alleged terrorist threat by fundamentalists. There have been persistent rumors that Aidid’s fighters have been getting arms from Iran via Sudan.
″The people have been brought in from outside,″ Rausch said. ″We’ve been tracking the rumors for several weeks. The rumors appear to be substantiated.″
Aidid has accused the United States of being provocative by bringing in reinforcements in the wake of an Oct. 3, U.S.-led raid that killed 18 American soldiers and scores of Somalis, including many civilians.
Following the debacle, Washington announced plans to pull out U.S. troops by March 31. U.N. officials have said they believe Aidid and other faction leaders have been rearming themselves recently in anticipation of a weaker U.N. force after Americans pull out.
Aidid called a unilateral cease-fire five weeks ago, but there have been signs it isn’t holding up.