15 U.N. Workers Held Hostage in Somalia, Gunmen Demand $420,000 They Say Is Owed for Salaries

By 1995, Reuters News Service | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 5, 1995 | Go to article overview

15 U.N. Workers Held Hostage in Somalia, Gunmen Demand $420,000 They Say Is Owed for Salaries


1995, Reuters News Service, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Somalian gunmen demanded $420,000 Saturday for the release of 15 U.N. aid workers detained in their house in Mogadishu.

Gunmen surrounding the house in the shattered capital said the money represented salaries owed to 1,010 Somalians who had worked for the World Food Program at Mogadishu's port.

The dispute dates back to the chaotic months before U.S.-led forces, sent to end famine, first stormed the beaches of Somalia in December 1992 and seized control of the port and other key installations in the city.

Thousands of Somalians are seeing the money from years of lavish aid operations vanish as the United Nations evacuates this month, leaving the sea port, airport and valuable buildings for clan militias to fight over.

A rear guard of 8,000 peacekeeping troops - Pakistanis, Egyptians and Bangladeshis - plus several hundred expatriate civilian staff remain in the city, but they are all hunkered down in the fortified port and airport, at least a half mile from where the 15 U.N. …

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