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Murdered Somalia UN workers named

A British United Nations worker and his French colleague shot dead at an airport in Somalia have been named by the UN.

Simon Davis, 57, and Clement Gorrissen, 28, were killed when a guman opened fire on them as they were about to go through immigration at Galkayo Airport in the Puntland region of the country, the UN said.

The men, who worked for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), often worked together and were on a mission in Somalia to offer technical advice and help build on work in the field of " illicit money flows", the organisation said.

Mr Davis and Mr Gorrissen, who were today described as " irreplaceable" had only just disembarked from a flight from the Somali city of Hargeisa and were about the go through immigration when the gunman opened fire, the UNODC said.

UK citizen Mr Davis was described as having had a "long and distinguished career" in the Metropolitan Police Force, specialising in tracking financial movements, before he joined the UNODC in 2012.

The 57-year-old had also worked closely with the British Government in the then-evolving area of piracy. In a statement, the UK said he had played an " outstanding role" in establishing a dialogue with the business community in Somalia as well as in the UK, and had also used his experience as a police officer to provid training in the Horn of Africa to law enforcement officials.

French citizen Clement Gorrissen first worked for UNODC in 2010 as part of the Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) and had helped to develop and coordinate UNODC's activities in the Horn of Africa.

In May 2011 he undertook research as part of UNODC's work for the group focusing on illicit money flows for the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and was a key contributor to the book Pirate Trails: Tracking the Illicit Financial Flows From Pirate Activities off the Horn of Africa.

UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov said: "Clement and Simon were two of the finest examples of the many dedicated colleagues we are fortunate enough to have at UNODC.

"They were deeply committed to the United Nations' cause and its vision of delivering beneficial change to people and communities in a difficult and complex world. I once again express my sincerest condolences to their family, friends and colleagues."

Of the men's planned mission in Somalia, John Sadage, director of UNODC's Division of Treaty Affairs, said: "Many Somali communities are dependent on the remittances they receive through money transfer systems.

"Clement and Simon dedicated their efforts to ensuring that licit money services were available to the Somali people, but the criminals were prevented from making a profit.

"They were experts in a complex field who worked hard at developing a common understanding between the authorities and those involved in handling money transfers.

"Clement and Simon are irreplaceable to UNODC, but their loss falls far harder on the many people they touched with their professional enthusiasm and energy."

Puntland is an arid region of north east Somalia, which has become infamous as a hub of piracy operations in the seas around that country.

Last week, a 500-bed prison opened in Garowe, the capital of Puntland. The UNODC said the building was a "key" part of its maritime crime programme in the Horn of Africa aimed at combating piracy.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has called for an urgent investigation into the murders. Yesterday he said: "I condemn these brutal murders in the strongest terms and offer my deep condolences to both families.

"Both 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."

A friend who answered the door at Mr Davis's home in Hatfield, Herts, said his family did not wish to speak to the press.


From Belfast Telegraph