UN says fighting displaces up to 100,000 people in Mogadishu

(Xinhua) 11:26, April 29, 2021

MOGADISHU, April 28 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations humanitarian agency said Wednesday that between 60,000 and 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Mogadishu following an outbreak of violence on April 25.

Cesar Arroyo, the UN acting humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said those displaced include vulnerable internally displaced persons who had sought refuge in the Somali capital but have again fled to find refuge at the outskirts of the city.

Armed conflict is on the rise and disproportionately affects the most vulnerable, Arroyo said, expressing concern about the deteriorating security situation in Mogadishu.

"Unlike the previous two years, most displacement in Somalia this year is conflict-related," he said in a statement issued in Mogadishu. "I urge parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and their obligation to protect civilians."

According to the UN, conflict-related displacement has escalated in Somalia, and since January, an estimated 173,000 people have been displaced, almost two-thirds by conflict. This, the UN said, includes 50,000 people who were displaced by violence in 19 villages in Berdale in South West State, Gaalkacyo in Mudug region, and Cabudwaaq in Galgaduud region.

Arroyo said the initial violence between government and pro-opposition forces has created uncertainty and fear of disruptions of humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people across the city.

He said the situation has flared up at a time that Somalia is experiencing a full-fledged drought, a significant rise in COVID-19 cases, and a serious desert locust infestation.

Fighting erupted on Sunday in Mogadishu amid heightened tension after the lower house of parliament passed legislation on the extension of President Mohamed Farmajo's term by two years. Farmajo, whose four-year mandate officially ended on Feb. 8, signed into law the parliamentary bill, which is opposed by the opposition, shortly after it was passed on April 12.

Efforts to reach an agreement on how to carry out presidential and parliamentary elections, which were originally scheduled to take place in February, have been stalled for months.

Early Wednesday, Farmajo said he will no longer pursue the extension of his presidential term and called for a return to negotiations to break the current political impasse over arrangements for the delayed elections.

(Web editor: Shi Xi, Liang Jun)


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