Somalia: UN official condemns killing of parliamentarian, reiterates support for political process

Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay. UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed

Somalia, 24 May 2015 – The top United Nations official in Somalia has condemned a deadly attack against two Somali Members of Parliament (MP) and reiterated the Organization’s support for the country’s democratic process.

Yusuf Muhammad Dirir, a Member of the Federal Parliament, was shot and killed on 23 May along with his driver while another MP, Abdullahi Boss Ahmed, was wounded in the same attack, according to a press release issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia earlier today.

“The assassination of Mr Yusuf Muhammad Dirir is an abhorrent act of terrorism,” declared Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and head of UNSOM. “I wish Abdullahi Boss Ahmed a speedy recovery and I commend all Somalia’s MPs for their courage and dedication in the face of continued attacks against them. The UN is committed to supporting the important work of the Federal Parliament.”

In a recent briefing of the Security Council, Mr. Kay told Council members that momentum had been regained on efforts to achieve political progress in the country, pointing to work by federal, regional and local leaders, and parliamentarians to build a State through dialogue and reconciliation, and top-level commitment to deliver Somalia’s Vision 2016 plan.

At the same time, however, he conceded that there was “still a long way to go,” adding that with so much at stake between now and 2016, “we can expect Al-Shabaab to do everything it can to derail the political process,” referring to the Islamist extremist group that has waged a long-standing terrorist campaign against Somalia’s Government.

In today’s press release, Mr. Kay reiterated that sentiment, warning that the murder of MPs “is an attempt to intimidate and undermine those working to build a better Somalia.”

“Their killers will not achieve that objective,” he concluded.