MOGADISHU, Oct 29 – UN chief Ban Ki-moon met the president of Somalia, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, under heavy security Wednesday in Mogadishu, his first visit to the dangerous capital of the war-torn nation in almost three years.
Ban, along with World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim, met Mohamud inside the fortified airport zone, guarded by troops from the 22,000 strong UN backed African Union force, Somalia’s presidency said in a statement.
They were not expected to travel outside the airport’s concrete blast walls, manned by AU machine gunners, into the city itself.
Ban however was dressed in a suit and not the bullet-proof jacket he wore on his last visit to Mogadishu in 2011. At that time, the country was suffering a famine in which over 250,000 people died, half of them children.
Al-Qaeda affiliated Shebab insurgents have in recent months lost swathes of territory and towns to the AU force and Somali government troops, but they remain a potent threat.