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UNICEF Suspends Somalia Operations

September 20, 1999

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) _ The United Nations Children’s Fund suspended its operations in southern Somalia on Monday following the killing last week of its highest-ranking health officer in the region.

Ayub Sheikh Yarow, 41, died Thursday from wounds received during an apparent robbery attempt. Five other local UNICEF workers were wounded in Wednesday’s assault, which occurred in Dibi Arab, a small town near Jowhar in central Somalia.

UNICEF officials said Monday that all its activities in southern Somalia, including distribution of high-energy food biscuits, would cease until at least Friday, when the decision would be reconsidered.

The aid suspension comes at time when famine- and war-induced famine have produced the worst rates of hunger and disease in southern Somalia two years. According to local authorities, at least 10 people die each day in the Bakol region of southwestern Somalia.

Yarow is the second aid group official slain by gunmen in recent weeks. Last month, Qasim Aden Egal of the Spanish branch of Doctors Without Borders was ambushed and killed near the town of Jilib.

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