A UK national is gunned down along with a colleague at the airport in the central city of Galkayo
A British man working for the United Nations agency fighting piracy has been shot dead with another expatriate colleague as they arrived for a two-day mission in¬†Somalia.
The consultants were attacked after they disembarked from a UN flight that landed on Monday morning in Galkayo, the town in central Somalia that is closest to the country‚Äôs pirate strongholds.
A man in a Somali police officer‚Äôs uniform opened fire with an AK-47 as the two expatriates waited for their visas to be stamped inside the airport‚Äôs immigration building. They were due to stay in Galkayo for two days of meetings.
The gunman was arrested and was being interrogated on Monday night. It was unclear if the two men were singled out, or whether the attacker wanted indiscriminately to target Westerners.
It is not yet known if the shooter was a serving policeman or had used a stolen uniform to trick his way into the airport, which US Navy Seals used during a raid to rescue a kidnapped American aid worker and her Danish colleague in 2012.
Nicholas Kay, head of the UN mission in Somalia, called the killings ‚Äúbrutal murders‚Äù of two men who were ‚Äúworking in support of the Somali people‚Äôs aspiration for a peaceful and stable future‚Äù.
‚ÄúThere can be no justification for such a callous attack,‚Äù Mr Kay said in a statement.
‚ÄúI call on the authorities to conduct a full investigation immediately and bring the perpetrators to justice without delay.‚Äù
The identities of the two men were not released, but the Foreign Office confirmed that one was British. The nationality of the second man was not known.
Both were consultants for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which in the Horn of Africa is focused on anti-piracy programmes, prosecutions of Somalis arrested for piracy and counter-terrorism in transnational financial crimes.
William Hague, in Rwanda to mark the 20th anniversary of the start of the genocide, said he condemned the killings ‚Äúin the strongest terms‚Äù.
‚ÄúBoth were working for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to help deliver a better future for Somalia. I urge the Somali authorities to urgently investigate these murders, so as to bring the perpetrators to justice.‚Äù
Galkayo, roughly 400 miles northwest of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, straddles the border between south-central Somalia and Puntland, one of two self-ruling states in northern Somalia.
It is an administrative headquarters for many United Nations agencies and international charities working in the region, and is regularly visited by expatriates.