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Somalia Violence Claims the Lives of Hundreds

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Escalating violence and worsening displacement is occuring in the Somali capital, where local hospitals report that over 250 civilians have been killed and nearly 1,000 others wounded since fighting erupted last month in several parts of north-west Mogadishu between Government forces and the opposition Al-Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam.

Spokesperson William Spindler, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva that the violence "is leaving a trail of civilian casualties, destruction and renewed displacement." The agency estimates that over 160,000 people have been driven to other parts of Somalia or to neighboring nations, with as many as 26,000 uprooted between June 19 through 22.

The majority of an estimated 50,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought safety in Mogadishu or within the makeshift camps on the capital's outskirts. An additional 45,000 people have fled towards the so-called Afgooye corridor approximately 20 miles south-east of Mogadishu, joining 400,000 other IDPs who have been displaced since 2007. "The deteriorating security situation has sharply reduced deliveries of desperately needed humanitarian aid to the displaced in and around Mogadishu," Spindler said.

The United States Security Council voiced its concern last week regarding the worsening situation in Somalia. The Security Council also reiterating its support for the Transitional Federal Government and its efforts to achieve peace, security and reconciliation in Somalia through the UN-facilitated Djibouti process. This past February the Djibouti process aided in the formation of the new government, the election of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and the creation of a newly-expanded Parliament.

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Lawrence J. Gist II is a dedicated pro bono attorney and counselor at law, adjunct professor of legal studies at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles, CA, a member of the board of directors of the Institute of Indigenous Knowledges, and a veteran (more...)
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