Sean Devereux

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Sean Devereux
Born Sean Devereux
(1964-11-25)25 November 1964
Camberley, Surrey, England, UK
Died 2 January 1993(1993-01-02) (aged 28)
Kismayo, Somalia
Occupation Teacher, Aid Worker
Years active 1985–1993

Sean Devereux (25 November 1964 - 2 January 1993) was an English Salesian missionary and aid worker murdered in Kismayo, Somalia in 1993 while working for UNICEF. He has since become an important role model for the aid-working vocation, particularly among Christians.

Sean Devereux died at the age of 28. Sean Devereux was the only son of Dermot Devereux, a British Airways cabin steward from Wexford, Ireland, and his wife Maureen, a nurse from Cork. He grew up in Yateley, Hampshire. He was educated at Salesian College, Farnborough [1]and the University of Birmingham, obtaining his honours degree in Sports, Science, and Geography, and then training as a teacher at the University of Exeter. He became a popular master of Physical Education at the Salesian School in Chertsey, Surrey, teaching for two academic years before departing to take up missionary work in Africa.

He arrived in Liberia in February 1989 and began work with the Salesian community at St. Francis School in Tappita District, briefly finding himself imprisoned after pleading for the release of a student drafted into the army as a child-soldier. In his second year, escalating violence during the Liberian Civil War had forced the closing of the school and Devereux joined the UN refugee program, where on one occasion he was beaten by soldiers after confronting one of them for attempting to steal food meant for refugees. Ultimately he was ordered out of the country in September 1992 and Devereux duly left for a brief stint in Sierra Leone.

He then began working with UNICEF in Somalia where he was assigned to organise relief for the starving, particularly children, in Kismayo, the stronghold of one of many warlords. After only four months in the country, Devereux was fatally shot in the back and the back of the head by a lone hired gunman while walking near the UNICEF compound on Saturday, 2 January 1993. His assassination came on the eve of the visit to Mogadishu by UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

'Sean Devereux Park' in Yateley[2] is named in his honour and a plaque commemorates him.

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