UN warns of upsurge in violence in southern Somalia

An upsurge of violence in Somalia has caused a “new wave of displacement” in the country’s troubled south, the United Nations said on Monday.

More than 34,000 people have fled their homes in the country’s Lower Shabelle region since the beginning of August, according to the latest UN Protection and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN) figures.

“Thousands of others [have] fled earlier in 2018 or before due to conflict, drought and floods, in which the majority are women and children,” said UNOCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The UN agency added that overall, about 2.6 million Somalis remain displaced inside their country due to conflict, insecurity and drought.

“Humanitarian partners are particularly concerned about an increase in protection issues, including restriction of movement, arbitrary arrests, civilian casualties and the destruction of properties and livelihood assets,” it added.

The UN also warned the rise in displacement has led to a significant increase in humanitarian needs in villages along the Afgooye-Qoryooley corridor as well as in the capital, Mogadishu, where most of the displaced have fled to.

“The displaced populations live in dire conditions with limited access to basic services and livelihood opportunities,” UNOCHA warned.

Last week, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said “multiple regions of the country [saw a] rise in fighting in October, pushing thousands of families into crisis”.

The  Norwegian humanitarian organisation called on all parties to the Somali conflict to “take all precautions to minimise civilian casualties…and allow free access to humanitarian agencies to safely provide aid”.

Farah Yussuf is a Digital Reporter with Star FM Kenya. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Masinde Muliro University.

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