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Over 18,000 People Displaced in Somalia's Afgooye Corridor
Friday, June 01, 2012

More than 18,000 Somalis have been displaced in Afgooye, about 30 km northwest of Mogadishu in the military operation by the allied forces in the past ten days, the UN relief agency said on Thursday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said after a spike in displacement on May 23-24, the influx has decreased as African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) intensify military operation in the region.

"Civilian casualties from the operation appear to be light," OCHA said in its humanitarian bulletin received in Nairobi.

The Afgooye town is located 30 km from the capital Mogadishu, governing routes to the port town of Marka, as well as the towns of Baidoa and Jowhar.

Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden has called on parties to the conflict to make every effort to minimize the impact of conflict on civilians and allow full humanitarian access to all people in need.

The UN humanitarian agency said the increase in people on the move caused public transport prices to increase dramatically, with the price to transport one person to Mogadishu rising from 2 U.S. dollars at the beginning of the year to 7 dollars.

"The cost is beyond what the majority of people can afford. As a result, many families were forced to seek shelter in areas with no basic services and out of reach for the humanitarian organizations," OCHA said.

Displaced families in the Afgooye corridor had adapted to available livelihoods, which have once again been disrupted.

They had also continued to receive basic services provided by national and international NGOs, which had been able to continue to operate in the corridor even after the Al-Shabaab expulsions of October 2011.

"People moved into all 16 districts of Mogadishu but mainly to the Zona K area in Hodan, Radaarka and Odweyne in Dayniile, Jiiroo Maskin and the ex-US embassy in Wadajir," OCHA said.

According to the UN relief agency, others moved to the Afgooye town and surrounding villages in Lower Shabelle region. Generally, the IDPs sought refuge in existing IDP settlements or with host communities.

OCHA said the displacement of thousands of people from the Afgooye corridor is leading to even greater pressure on limited sanitation facilities and access to clean water.

Until last year, most of Mogadishu was, for several years, riven by a fluid frontline dividing the two sides -- fighters belonging to the Al-Shabaab movement and troops belonging to Somalia's Transitional Federal Government, with the latter supported by AMISOM's peacekeeping forces.

Since Al-Shabaab withdrawal from the capital's central parts in August last year, the frontlines were pushed back to the city's surrounding area.

However, the use of roadside bombs, grenades and suicide bombers is still a regular occurrence, with outbreaks of fighting still reported occasionally.
Source: Xinhua


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