UN re-establishes a presence in Mogadishu after a 17-year hiatus


The UN has once again established an office in Somalia, after 17 years of staying away from the violent, war-torn African nation, The Los Angeles Times reported

The United Nations' special envoy for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, arrived in Mogadishu on Tuesday. 

Mahiga's presence marks the UN's commitment to support Somali leaders, who are aiming to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in August, ending a series of fragile transitional governments, Reuters reported

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"It is historic to bring the UN back to Somalia. The secretary general told me I should go and join you to make the roadmap a reality," Mahiga said as he handed a letter from UN chief Ban Ki-moon to the Somali president.

Somalia's government is struggling to wrangle a violent insurgency and manage drought, famine and ongoing conflict. The UN moved its political office from Mogadishu to Nairobi in 1995 because of continued instability in the region, Voice of America reported

Somalian dictator Siad Barre was ousted in 1991, which kicked off chaos in the east African nation. The first internationally backed transitional government was established in 2004, but lost control to rebels, according to Reuters. 

Al Shabaab, the militant Islamist organization which has its hold on much of southern and central Somalia, has launched many guerrilla-style attacks in the capital, despite a Kenyan, Ethiopian and Somali offensive.

More from GlobalPost: Al Shabaab militants attack Kenyan police base

There was no confirmation of casualties on Tuesday, the Times reported. However, Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for killing 33 Ethiopian soldiers and wounding dozens more. 

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