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Number Of Somalis Fleeing Dips As Situation Calms

Number of Somalis fleeing dips as situation calms but fear persists - UN

After 90,000 people fled recent fighting in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, a lull has caused the outflow to slow, the United Nations refugee agency said today, while warning that conditions remain volatile and fear persists.

"The situation in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, has calmed down since Tuesday reducing dramatically the number of civilians fleeing the city after some 90,000 fled an outbreak of violence over the last week," said Jennifer Pagonis, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), citing the latest figures collected by a network of the agency's local partners.

"The situation however, remains volatile and tense with people living in fear," she warned.

Today, no civilians were seen fleeing, except from an area around the livestock market in north Mogadishu, where insurgents reportedly attacked an Ethiopian base on Thursday night.

The latest fighting pitted Ethiopian troops, in Somalia to help the Transitional Federation Government (TFG), against insurgents. Weekend fighting was described as the worst in months.

Fighting earlier this year led to an exodus of nearly 400,000 people from Mogadishu, with only 125,000 returning so far. There are currently 450,000 people internally displaced after fleeing Mogadishu this year, bringing the total number of IDPs in Somalia to an estimated 850,000, UNHCR said today.

The UN refugee agency has delivered aid to 78,000 people in Afgooye this year and is preparing to carry out another distribution, Ms. Pagonis said.


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