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Office of the United Nations Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia

Press Release


Nairobi (7 February 2004) – The United Nations confirmed today that United Nations staff member and German national Mr. Rolf Helmrich, is still being held by an armed militia group in the lower Juba region of southern Somalia, after being abducted more than one week ago.

Speaking in Nairobi today, the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and Designated Official for UN Security in Somalia, Mr. Maxwell Gaylard, acknowledged the efforts of Somali regional authorities and clan leaders to secure the release of Mr. Helmrich. He again condemned the actions of the militia group responsible, and reaffirmed that the United Nations could not and would not be held to ransom through such criminal actions.

Mr. Gaylard urged those responsible to release Mr. Helmrich without further delay. “As a UN staff member Rolf has worked with and for the Somali people for several years now, without fear or complaint. He has already been held for far too long in inhospitable conditions and against his will. It is time he was released, and allowed to re-join his family and resume his work for the UN and the Somali people.”

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