Unicef quits town after British aid man killed

MOGADISHU - The United Nations Children's Fund said yesterday it had pulled out its international staff from the southern Somali port of Kismayu after a Somali gunman shot dead a British Unicef worker, writes Karl Maier.

A Belgian priest conducted a memorial service in Kismayu, 250 miles south of the capital Mogadishu, yesterday for Sean Devereux, who was shot dead on Saturday. Representatives from all the aid agencies operating in the town attended the service.

Devereux's murder, the first of a foreigner in Somalia since the arrival of American-led forces last month, underscored the dangerous climate that continues to exist in Somalia despite the arrival of nearly 30,000 foreign troops, the bulk of them American, to protect food-relief convoys. Several Unicef vehicles have been shot at or hijacked in the past week. The United Nations Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, had to cut short his three-hour visit to Somalia yesterday after a crowd of 500 Somalis laid siege to the headquarters of the United Nations Operation in Somalia.

Devereux, 28, of Camberley, Surrey, was the Unicef officer in charge at Kismayu. Unicef officials said they had sent a representative to Kismayu to investigate the murder, which occurred within the Unicef compound.

The motive for the murder remained unknown. The US Marine spokesman, Colonel Fred Peck told reporters yesterday that Devereux was murdered by his own guards after he told them he was cutting their salaries. '(He) told his security force that he was no longer going to pay them inflated wages,' Col Peck said. 'As he was leaving after making this announcement he was shot in the back several times and killed.' But Col Peck retracted that statement, and a Unicef official said he doubted a pay dispute was behind the murder.

'My initial report turned out to be wrong,' Col Peck said. Unicef sources, who asked not to be identified, said Devereux was shot three times in the back of the head and the middle and lower spine by a lone gunman who fled. He appeared to have been singled out as a target, they added.

Devereux, the son of Irish parents, had reportedly been a source for the reports about massacres at the hands of Col Ahmed Omar Jess, the main warlord in the area, which occurred in Kismayu shortly before the arrival of the US marines. A sports enthusiast, Devereux had organised the Movement for Peace and Unity Fun Run in Monrovia, Liberia, in May 1991 which attracted 10,000 participants.

In Britain, tribute was paid yesterday to Devereux, PA reports. His father, Dermot, speaking from the family home in Yateley, Hants, said: 'We have lost someone who was just totally exceptional and of whom we were immensely proud. He did what he did because he wanted to be there. He felt it was just a task of work. He was courageous, but he did not feel any sense of martyrdom.'

(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate / Junior C# Developer

£18000 - £25000 Per Annum + bonus and benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Teaching Assistants needed in Chester

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Teaching Assistants needed in Cheshire...

Male PE Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits