Over 100,000 Somalis displaced amid tension in central Somalia
MOGADISHU — More than 100,000 people have fled from a local town in Galmudug state in central Somalia due to high tensions and potential conflict between local government and a paramilitary group, the United Nations said Friday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the tension has now spread into 28 rural villages.
“Displaced people include about 1,005 unaccompanied minors and 2,009 persons with disabilities and health related complications,” UNOCHA said in a statement released in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
The Somalis fled from the town of Guriel due to high tensions and potential conflict between the Galmudug government and Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a (ASWJ), a moderate Islamic group based in the central region.
The regional government said Thursday its forces had surrounded Guriel town after talks spearheaded by government and clan elders collapsed.
Galmudug said its forces want to retake Guriel town from Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a which has been in control of the town for about a month.
The UNOCHA said the majority of the internally displaced people (IDPs) are sheltered by relatives, in overcrowded shelters made of tattered clothes or under trees, adding that three new camps for IDPs were established to host 7,300 families.
The UN agency said response capacity is limited as mainly national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working in the area, and the few international NGOs present have limited movement due to insecurity.
According to the UN, access to food, water, sanitation and basic services is extremely limited and the majority of IDPs are reportedly only having one meal a day and fully depend on water trucking (given the ongoing drought in the area).
“Over 700 malnourished children have been identified and cases of diarrhea, acute respiratory infection, and suspected measles have been reported,” UNOCHA said, adding that at least 26 schools remain closed, leaving more than 9,000 children without access to education.
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