PE man, one of two South Africans who died in attack in Somalia

 A Port Elizabeth man was one of two South Africans who died in an attack on a United Nations compound in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

State arms manufacture Denel has released the names of the two South Africans as as Morne Lotter, 41, from Oudtshoorn, who worked as a Facility Manager, and Alan Simpson, 53, from Port Elizabeth who worked as a Maintenance Manager.  The third person to die in the incident was Isak Mohammed Osman, a Somali national who worked as an electrician.

The two died when a UN compound was attacked, killing 15 and injuring hundreds. Al-Qaida linked Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia have claimed responsibility for the raid, saying they used a car bomb and suicide attackers to blast their way into the fortified base in central Mogadishu near the airport.

It is the first major assault targeting the UN since its agencies started relocating to Mogadishu after a 20-year absence.

Lotter and Simpson belonged to a contingent of personnel from the company’s humanitarian demining operations, Mechem, and were providing camp management services to the UN operations in the region, which included the management and provision of catering, cleaning and logistical support as well as mine protected vehicles in the region.

Chief Executive of Denel SOC, Riaz Saloojee, reiterated that the company is making the necessary arrangements to repatriate their remains.

Denel was also providing full support to the families.

The remaining Denel employees in Somalia are not in danger and have been moved to secure facilities under the control of the United Nations Office for Project Services.

Saloojee said the safety of Denel employees who work in conflict environments is of primary importance to the company and before any assignment is undertaken all care is taken to ensure their safety in such environments.

“Our employees are well aware of the inherent dangers attached to their line of work. However they continue with these necessary tasks with a remarkable devotion to duty.

“I want to pay tribute to our employees who are providing this service working in very dangerous environments to ensure the safety of countless other people as part of South Africa’s contribution to international peace-keeping efforts,” Saloojee said.

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