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In UN Somalia Compound, Employees of S. Africa Arms Maker Denel

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 19 -- With the casualty figure of the attack on the UN compound in Mogadishu continuing to rise, questions have arisen why employees of South Africa state-owned arms manufacturer Denel were in the compound.

  June's Security Council president Mark Lyall Grant of the UK read out a Council press statement at 4 pm. Inner City Press asked him for the casualty count, and of arms manufacturer Denel's announcement that two of its employees were working for the UN and became victims.

  Lyall Grant said he understood there were 15 killed including seven attackers, and four Somalis and four non-Somalis, including one UNDP staff member. This "four foreigners" figure would seem to include the two South Africans referred to by Denel.

While the UN is loudly celebrating the Arms Trade Treaty, why is it employing an arms manufacturer in Somalia? Reports are of "camp maintenance services" and not demining -- but why an arms manufacturer?

Denel spokesperson, Vuyelwa Qinga, said "We can confirm that we have been made aware of the incident and that among those dead are two Denel employees."

In Somaliland, as Inner City Press reported last week, the UN Development Program has put out to bid until tomorrow security services for its -- but apparently not UNSOM's -- compounds in Hargeisa and Burao. There, UNDP claims the jobs are unarmed. But in Mogadishu, employees of an arms manufacturer have been employed.

Before the attack, Inner City Press had been inquiring if any UNSOM personnel would remain in Somaliland after being asked to leave. Now the lack of response is understandable. But who will explain the presence in the UN compound, and on the payroll, of employees of an arms manufacturer? Watch this site.

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