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Mogadishu Residents Flee Homes: Somalian Government’s Offensive against Islamic Resistance

Posted by on Feb 10th, 2010 and filed under Recent Posts, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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Mogadeshu_residentsHUNDREDS of residents were fleeing the war-ravaged Mogadishu, Somalia Wednesday, ahead of a large offensive the government has warned against the Islamic insurgents to wrest back control of the country.

The launch of the big push against the Shabab 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.

The Somali capital is the scene of almost daily violence, the forces of the transitional federal government (TFG), African Union mission (AMISOM) and US Commandos confronts aggressively with Al-Shabab to crush the movement that vows to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.

The embattled administration of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has long promised a major military push to reclaim southern and central Somalia from insurgents who launched their own bid to topple him in May last year.

Amino Sheikh Ali, a mother of six, fled the same northern Huriwa neighbourhood in 2007, when Ethiopian troops invaded the area.

“We returned … following the withdrawal of the Ethiopian forces (in January 2009) but we were never able to live peacefully,” she said.

This time Amino Sheikh Ali said she would not go back to the overcrowded camps in the Afgoye corridor and would try to find a district of Mogadishu spared by the fighting.

“We left our house yesterday because we are so scared of the recent war preparations,” she said, moving towards the calmer southern Waberi district, carrying her bundles and bales, children in tow.

The UN’s refugee agency is already struggling to assist the million people displaced in 2007 and the quarter million who have been displaced since May.

“Somalia is one of the conflicts that generates the highest number of displaced in the world. When we think the situation is bad, it always gets worse,” said UNHCR spokeswoman Roberta Russo.

Mogadishu residents are resilient but many fear the violence of the US backed TFG’s offensive will be unprecedented.

“Well and freshly trained Somali forces are being deployed on several frontlines in Mogadishu to replace their comrades who have been there in the past years,” Abdirasak Qeylow, a senior army officer, told AFP.

“This war will be the last one, to clean the terrorists out of the capital,” he added. “This time we are confident we will defeat them.”

The insurgents dismissed the government’s tough talk as empty threats.

“They always vow to wage the final battle against us and they never win … They will regret it if they attack us,” Shebab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage said at a recent press conference.

“There are hundreds of people reaching around Elashabiyaha and Lafole every week. Most of them are coming from Suqaholaha, Huriwa, Yaqshid and Hamarjadid neighbourhoods,” Abduweli Ugas, an elder in Elashabiyaha, said.

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