Gunmen disrupt Somali aid plans

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The Independent Online
Mogadishu (Reuter) - Plans to save Somalia from starvation were thrown into confusion yesterday when gunmen loyal to the former president, Mohamed Siad Barre, seized an important southern town and trapped aid workers feeding 200,000 people.

General Imtiaz Shaheen, the UN's military commander in Somalia, flew to Bardera, 300km (180 miles) west of Mogadishu, to evacuate four Somali aid staff, two US journalists and a US relief worker for the CARE agency. Sixteen other Somali and foreign aid workers were evacuated from a nearby village.

Followers of Siad Barre's son- in-law, Siad Barre Morgan, seized the town early yesterday after fierce fighting with troops loyal to Mohamed Farah Aideed, a rival warlord, but promised the relief staff would not be harmed and urged that aid work continue.