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Press Release

Two more UN aid workers freed from Somalia

Nairobi (30 March 2001) - Two United Nations aid workers who were held in the Somali capital Mogadishu for four days were on Friday released and flown to neighboring Kenya.

Pierre-Paul Lamotte, 34, a UNICEF logistician from Belgium and Mohamed Mohamedi, 30, a World Health Organization(WHO) operations officer - both working on polio eradication projects - arrived in good health in the Kenyan capital Nairobi Friday afternoon.

They were met at the airport by UN officials, and taken to a UN office to rest and debrief with colleagues.

"We are pleased that Pierre-Paul and Mohamed are back, safe and well," said Randolph Kent, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia. "However, our paramount concern now is to ensure the safe and immediate release of the two UN staffers still being held in Mogadishu. We are concentrating all of our efforts on getting them out as soon as possible."

The UN has maintained indirect contact with the two. Bill Condie, 61, and Roger Carter, 41, both British, are said to be in good condition. However the UN insists that it be allowed to establish direct telephone contact with them, and to confirm that they are being treated well. The UN continues its dialogue with all parties and is hopeful that peaceful conditions prevail in Mogadishu to allow their release.

Six international UN staffers and one Somali UN employee were seized Tuesday morning along with three international aid workers from Medicins Sans Frontiers, following a two-hour gunbattle at the Medicins Sans Frontieres compound in north Mogadishu. The aid workers were split into three groups. On Wednesday, one group - including Jonathan Veitch, 32, a UNICEF Regional Project Officer from Britain, Sheldon Yett, 37, a UNICEF Emergency Officer, the Somali UNICEF employee and the three MSF aid workers - was released, and the international staff flown to neighboring Kenya.

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For further information, please contact:

Sonya Laurence Green, Information Officer, UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator's Office for Somalia, Tel (254 2) 44 84 34 e-mail sonya.green@undp.org
Julia Spry-Leverton, Communication Officer, UNICEF Somalia
Tel (254 2) 62 39 58, e-mail jspryleverton@unicef.orgjspryleverton@unicef.org