UN Official freed in Somalia

The head of the UN’s World Food Program in Somalia was freed today on bail, the AP reported.

“Idris Osman, the Somali head of U.N. World Food Program operations in Somalia’s war-battered capital, was seized Oct. 17 when dozens of armed security agents stormed a U.N. compound. Osman was released on bail Tuesday, but is still under investigation for unspecified crimes, said a top Somali intelligence chief, Gen. Mohamed Warsame Darwish”.

The AP report on the freeing of a UN official in Somalia is published on the NY Times website.

UPDATE: Osman has apparently been pardoned by the President of what is reported to be a non-functioning government in Somalia, which will also participate in a joint investigation of this whole incident with the UN’s World Food Program. The UN spokesperson announced at Tuesday’s regular Noon Briefing for journalists at UNHQ/NY that: “Osman was now back at work at the United Nations office in Mogadishu upon a decision by the President, with no charges laid against him. The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Transitional Federal Government will shortly launch a joint fact-finding mission looking into the circumstances of his detention”.

In response to questions from a journalist, there was a bit more light shed on the situation:

“Question: It had been reported that one of the reasons behind it was the Government’s unhappiness that WFP was distributing food through mosques, so I’d like to know if we can get an answer to whether WFP intends to continue distributing food through mosques or is, in fact, stopping that.

Spokesperson:  As far as I know, the distribution through mosques has been continuing”.

[The Spokesperson later added that food distributions had been interrupted after Somali National Security Service officers entered the United Nations compound in Mogadishu on 17 October.  They will resume in Mogadishu as soon as possible, with the agreement of the Transitional Federal Government. The World Food Programme (WFP) had announced that they would distribute food in the most effective way to reach the people in need, including through the mosques.]

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