Aid organisations warned on Thursday that Somalia’s worst fighting in months was aggravating an already dire humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa state, and joined world powers in condemning the violence. Somalia’s 18 years of anarchy has left millions displaced, killed tens of thousands and created one of the world’s worst aid crises. Attacks on relief workers, extortion and regular clashes have hampered groups trying to work there. “In the midst of an already exiting catastrophe, reports of continued fighting, civilian deaths, including women and children, are extremely worrying,” said Andrea Pattison, spokeswoman for the charity Oxfam.
Since late last week, clashes between militant al Shabaab fighters and pro-government forces have killed more than 113 civilians in the Somali capital and sent 27,000 others fleeing. A respite from more than a decade of violence following a takeover by the Islamic Courts Union in 2006 was short-lived, and battles erupted again when Ethiopian tanks and troops crushed the sharia courts movement later that year.
An Islamist-led insurgency since early 2007 has killed some 17,700 people and wounded almost 30,000 others, worsening the humanitarian crisis for Somalis, who have lived without effective central rule since the 1991 ousting of a dictator. “The people of Somalia have once again been subjected to unbearable violence,” said Pascal Mauchle, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Somalia delegation.
“The daily struggle for survival is exhausting their capacity to cope. After almost two decades of armed conflict they yearn desperately for security and a stable environment.” Aid agencies fear renewed clashes in Mogadishu will only complicate access to thousands of civilians fleeing the city.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS