Somalia: August 31, 2002


The fourth UN worker (a Somali) kidnapped this year, has still not been released. The UN refuses to pay ransom, and has successfully gotten it's kidnapped staff released by shutting down operations. But there are an increasing number of ignorant (and often not too bright to begin with) teenagers and young men wandering around with guns and looking to snag a major payday. More of these young guys lack any adult supervision. Most end up dead when they bump into a warlord who is organized. But in the meantime, the freelancers are a growing problem in an already chaotic situation.

The UN has a staff of about 480 in Somalia, and at least 400 of these are Somalis. 

There are three main areas of conflict at the moment. In the north, two warlords are confronting each over who will rule Puntland. The old capital, Mogadishu, has at least half a dozen militias battling each other and the provisional government. In the south, warlords battle for control of parts of  Baidoa and Gedo. 


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