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U.N. on Aidid: If we get him, fine; if not, fine

United Nations forces searched Friday for warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, but officials said they wanted the focus of the U.N. mission to return to humanitarian aid.

A day after U.N. forces blitzed the nerve center of Aidid's militia, Adm. Jonathan Howe, U.N. special envoy, urged the peaceful surrender of the man accused of masterminding a June 5 ambush that killed 23 Pakistani soldiers.

He said he was concerned too much attention was being given to the problems in southern Mogadishu, which Aidid's faction has long controlled.

"We will continue to look for hidden, clandestine arms caches," Howe said. "There still are too many heavy weapons in the city being illegally kept."

Food distribution sites have been closed since June 6. Aid workers, protected by the peacekeepers from bandits and gunmen loyal to warlords, have been trying to restore order to Somalia.

A French television sound technician was killed in an ambush Friday. Jean-Claude Jumel, 50, had just arrived with other members of a TF1 television crew at Mogadishu's airport and was headed into the city when their vehicle was ambushed.

Despite the attack, it was quiet on the streets for the Muslim sabbath, a sharp contrast to Thursday. The only serious sign of the anger generated by the attack came in the neighborhood that has been the stronghold for Aidid's faction.

Supporters screamed at journalists who tried to inspect the damage to several compounds, including Aidid's house. Shelling from American AC-130 helicopter gunships left it looking like a chunk of Swiss cheese.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kevin McGovern said detaining Aidid wasn't a goal of the aerial and ground assaults aimed at crippling Aidid's capability to wage war against peacekeepers.

"If we got him, fine. If we didn't, fine," McGovern said. "We're not out to make him a martyr."

Howe called the operation, which included a ground assault that lasted more than 12 hours, "totally successful" despite heavy casualties on both sides.

Five U.N. soldiers _ four Moroccans and a Pakistani _ were killed. Forty-six others were wounded: 41 Moroccans, three Frenchmen, one Pakistani and one American.

An accurate count of Somali casualties was impossible. Hospitals confirmed at least 15 dead and 36 wounded, but the numbers could be considerably higher.

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