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SOMALIA: Italian NGO compound attacked in Merka The Italian

 

NGO COSVI (Coordinating Committee of the Organisation for Volunteer Services) was the subject of a grenade attack in the coastal town of Merka on Thursday in the latest of a series of incidents targeting humanitarian agencies.

The attack, which follows violent incidents targeting the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) in Merka, appeared to be the work of an Islamic fundamentalist organisation which claimed that COSVI was prosletysing for Christianity and spreading "disruptive western influences", humanitarian sources told IRIN on Friday.

COSVI has been involved in EC-supported demobilisation and education programmes in Merka.

The increased targeting of humanitarian agencies appeared to be related to local clan politics, tension associated with the sharia courts, and with disgruntled contract- and job-seekers, rather than any wider issues in Somalia, such as ongoing peace initiative in Djibouti, the sources added.

The Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB), an umbrella group of donors, UN agencies and NGOs, was scheduled to meet on Friday afternoon to discuss a coordinated response to the latest security incident in Merka.

The COSVI attack follows the withdrawal from Puntland in the northeast of the German NGO Aktion Afrika Hilfe (AAH) after a failed attack on Tuesday, when a grenade was thrown over its compound wall but did not explode.

According to UN sources, the attack was instigated by a disgruntled job-seeker.

 


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