Red Cross halts Somalia operation over killing

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NAIROBI (AFP) - The murder of a Swiss administrator for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Bardera has led it to suspend all activities in Somalia over the weekend, an ICRC official said here.

'We are stopping all our operations in Somalia on Saturday and Sunday and we plan to reflect on means of improving security,' Catherine Cazeaux said, adding that Red Cross staff were 'very shocked'. Kurt Lustenberger, 32, died on board a helicopter evacuating him from Bardera, south-west Somalia, where a Somali gunman shot him in the head during a robbery 23 days after Lustenberger arrived in the town on his first foreign mission. 'He was shot just as he was going to give (three robbers) the key to the safe,' Ms Cazeaux added.

The ICRC flies food into Somalia and is one of the busiest aid organisations there. Lustenberger was the second aid worker to be murdered since the US-led relief operation began early last month.