Gunmen shot and killed a WFP-contracted truck driver in southern Somalia, the fourth driver delivering WFP food assistance killed this year, WFP said.
Driver Ahmed Saalim was part of a convoy of WFP-contracted trucks carrying 602 metric tons of WFP food from Mogadishu to Bay and Bakool regions. He was shot when fighting broke out on Monday between convoy escorts and militiamen at a checkpoint near the village of Leego in Lower Shabelle region.
WFP food is reaching many people but our drivers are daily risking their lives to deliver it
Peter Goossens, WFP Somalia Country Director
Saalim is the fourth WFP–contracted driver killed this year. WFP urged all parties to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian staff and assistance for the Somali people amid worsening insecurity in much of southern and central Somalia with killings and kidnappings of aid workers.
“WFP food is reaching many people but our drivers are daily risking their lives to deliver it,” said Peter Goossens, WFP Somalia Country Director, adding that Somalia is becoming increasingly dangerous at the same time as the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is on the rise. “We send our condolences to the family of Ahmed Saalim and appeal for these killings to stop,” Goossens said.
Naval escorts needed
WFP has to double the tonnages of food assistance it brings into Somalia to feed an average of 2.4 million people per month for the rest of the year. But it still urgently needs a government to provide naval escorts for ships loaded with WFP food to protect them from piracy.
Ninety percent of WFP food for Somalia is brought in by sea. In late June, a frigate from the Royal Netherlands Navy ended its mission escorting ships loaded with WFP food since April.