At least 60 killed in two weeks of Mogadishu fighting: UNHCR
At least 60 civilians were killed and 14,300 others sent fleeing from their homes over the last two weeks as heavy fighting engulfed Somali capital Mogadishu, the UN refugees agency said Friday.
"According to information we are seeing in field reports, at least 60 people have been killed and more than 50 wounded and injured in street clashes," said Andrej Mahecic, spokesman of the UNHCR.
"Over 14,300 fled in the past two weeks alone, following renewed heavy fighting between the transitional federal government troops, supported by the African Union Peacekeeping Force, and armed opposition groups," he added.
Most of the displaced -- about 9,300, are still within the capital.
"Many families are in desperate situations, stuck in the embattled city," said Mahecic.
Some are staying with relatives or friends in overcrowded conditions while others are simply sleeping in the streets of the capital, "settling under a plastic sheet or whatever material they can find to build a roof."
"These are the most vulnerable and utterly dependent on scarce aid the humanitarian agencies manage to deliver and meagre remittances from relatives living abroad," said Mahecic, adding that women and children have been forced to beg in the streets or markets.
Relentless civil war has plagued Somalia since 1991, and the UNHCR has described the situation in Somalia as one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
Some 1.4 million people are internally displaced in the country while more than 580,000 Somalis are living as refugees in neighbouring states, according to the agency's data.
© 2010 AFP