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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
24 March 2006

SOMALIA: UN envoy urges end to violence in Mogadishu

NAIROBI, 24 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - The United Nations envoy for Somalia has urged leaders in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, to end hostilities and allow families who fled two days of factional fighting in the city this week to return to their homes.

"The renewal and escalation of fighting this week, with the tragic and avoidable suffering inflicted on civilians in Mogadishu - especially women and children - is unacceptable," said Francois Lonseny Fall, the UN Secretary-General's special representative for Somalia, on Friday. "I urge all sides to consider the loss of life, injuries and other suffering caused to hundreds of families this week and to put aside their weapons."

On Wednesday and Thursday, Mogadishu was rocked by fighting that initially pitted militias loyal two rival influential figures in the city. The violence escalated as forces of a newly formed group called Alliance for Peace and the Fight Against International Terrorism joined the fray. Hundreds of families fled their homes in the city's northern outskirts as the fighting raged.

The city was calm but tense on Friday, according to residents contacted by telephone.

Somalia has been ravaged by factional warfare since the collapse of the administration of president Muhammad Siyad Barre in 1991. A transitional federal government formed in 2004 following reconciliation talks in neighbouring Kenya has yet to establish its authority in the country because of internal strife.


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