FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oxfam shocked, deeply saddened by killing of aid partner in SomaliaJun 17, 2008
OXFORD, UK ? International aid agency Oxfam International is shocked and deeply saddened by the senseless killing of a staff member of one of its partner organizations in Mogadishu. Mohammed Abdulle Mahdi, 46, was shot to death in Mogadishu on the morning of June 11th. The circumstances surrounding his murder are still unclear. Mahdi is survived by his wife and eleven children.
"Oxfam is deeply saddened by the loss of such a dedicated and brave colleague. For many years, Mahdi had worked tirelessly and in an atmosphere of increasing danger to help the people of Somalia, who are struggling to cope with violence and drought," said Oxfam's Horn of Africa Manager, Robbert van den Berg.
"We wish to express our condolences and solidarity with his family and colleagues and with other civil society organizations working throughout Somalia under extremely difficult circumstances," said Mr van den Berg.
Oxfam International urges that a thorough and impartial investigation into the killing be carried out and that those responsible be put on trial.
Mohammed Abdulle Mahdi, known as 'Mahdi' to his friends, was the Director of the Women and Child Care Organisation (WOCCA) and was dedicated to helping vulnerable people in Somalia for many years.
In collaboration with Oxfam International, Mahdi worked to improve the lives of many different vulnerable groups; most recently, Mahdi had been working to help people forced to flee their homes because of extreme violence in Mogadishu and across Somalia.
This most recent killing illustrates the extreme dangers faced both by ordinary citizens and aid workers in Somalia. NGO workers like Mahdi are bravely and continuously working to deliver life-saving services to people in desperate need, but they are doing so in an atmosphere of increasingly real and imminent danger. It is the right of ordinary Somalis to be able to access the assistance that many of them so desperately need, and it is the right of aid workers to carry out their life-saving work unhindered and without fear.
All parties to the conflict must live up to their obligations to the people of Somalia by allowing full and unhindered access to those in need and to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law.
Only by living up to these obligations will the needs of all Somalis be met.
"This senseless loss of life underlines the extreme dangers that aid workers face trying to reach those in desperate need and deprives a whole community and family of a man dedicated to improving the lives of ordinary Somalis. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time," said Mr. van den Berg.