Mogadishu Sees Increase in Refugees

After Somali forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISON) troops fought fierce battles against the Mujahedeen Youth Movement in the Daynile district, south of Mogadishu, the governmental forces gained control over a large part of the area. With gunfire approaching the displacement camps outside the capital, the region is witnessing an unprecedented displacement movement that began with the arrival of refugees from Mogadishu five years ago. They are beset with gunfire and mortar rounds wherever they go. They recently fled their homes in Mogadishu to escape the battles, and here they are today, returning to the capital. Near the displacement areas, many parts of Daynile fell in the hands of the governmental forces and camp residents began to flee to the capital. Hassan Kafi, a cab driver, told us that people are fleeing in large numbers "because residents are returning to their houses in the capital, which seems safer than before." Moreover, the economic situation in the capital seems to have improved. "Not long ago we suffered from the lack of customers, but now our economic situation is better," said Mustafa Ahmad a sales person. However, many came back to Mogadishu and discovered that their houses had been destroyed. Abdul Rahman Nour told us that the houses where he lived were once a compound that housed dozens of Islamic students with their families, but they are now rubble. "I used to teach Islamic law to students here. The compound's residents were displaced and they cannot return until their houses are rebuilt." Mr. Nour is calling on Somali authorities and charitable organizations to help in reconstructing the demolished houses that were the property of a late Muslim cleric, who had given them to poor families. By: Abdulrahman Bukhari and Nadia Idriss Mayen Al Arabiya

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