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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Tuesday 11 May 2004

SOMALIA: Fighting in Bulo Hawa displaces hundreds of families

NAIROBI, 11 May 2004 (IRIN) - Inter-clan fighting in the town of Bulo Hawa, in the north of Gedo Region, southwestern Somalia, near the border with Kenya, has displaced several thousand people, according to a humanitarian source.

"Between 3,000 and 3,500 people have been displaced by the fighting", Sayyid Mahmud Adan, a leader of the Somali National Front (SNF) faction, which controls the area, told IRIN on Tuesday. Most had crossed over into the Kenyan border town of Mandera, he said.

About "seven people were killed and a dozen wounded" in the fighting, which broke out over the weekend, the humanitarian source told IRIN on Tuesday. Some of the wounded had been taken to Mandera, while others had been taken to Luq in Gedo Region, added the source.

The fighting pitted an alliance of the Marehan subclans of Hawarsame Rer Hasan and Habar Ya'qub against the subclans of the Ali Dheere and Rer Ahmad, local sources told IRIN. The Marehan clan dominates Gedo.

"The fighting is about who should run the town," said one source. The Hawarsame alliance attacked the other two subclans after a new district commissioner was appointed by the SNF faction which controls the area, and whose appointment the alliance opposes," said the source.

According to the humanitarian source, the Bulo Hawa hospital was looted during the fighting and most of the patients and staff have left. "We are not sure how much was looted, but only three patients and three staff are now left in the hospital," she added.

The refugees, mainly women, children and old people, were at a place known as "Border point 1 [BP1], which is only a kilometre inside Kenya". Due to its proximity to the border, BP1 was not safe for the refugees, said the humanitarian source.

Bulo Hawa is reportedly calm, "but remains tense" due to fear of renewed clashes. "There are reports that both sides are rearming and mobilising for renewed confrontations," a Somali source told IRIN. However, mediation efforts by Marehan elders were in progress, he noted. "Some elders are meeting to discuss ways of resolving the conflict," he said.


This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004

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