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Mogadishu residents flee ahead of offensive

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 18:06

Mogadishu: Hundreds of Mogadishu residents
were fleeing the war-ravaged city on Wednesday, ahead of a large
offensive Somalia`s government has promised against the
insurgents to wrest back control of the country.

The launch of the big push against the Al Qaeda-inspired
Shebab and their allies from Hezb al-Islam was not announced
officially but rumours and recent military movements were
enough to scare people back on to the road.
"I know too well that neither side cares about civilians
in Mogadishu," said 39-year-old Mohamed Isa Abdullahi.

The father of three and his family were among the last
remaining civilians in Huriwa neighbourhood who had not
already been forced out of their homes by successive waves of
violence in recent years.

"The government has vowed to retake the city, rebels are
going to stick to their bastions and the civilians are going
to be the only victims, as always bearing the brunt of the
war," he said.
Like hundreds of residents in recent days, Abdullahi is
joining the hundreds of thousands of Somalis displaced by
fighting in Mogadishu and now settled in camps in the "Afgoye
corridor," on the outskirts of the capital.

The Somali capital is the scene of almost daily violence,
often pitting Shebab Islamist insurgents against the forces of
the transitional federal government (TFG) and the African
Union mission.


First Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 18:06

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