Mogadishu residents flee ahead of offensive
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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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