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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
11 July 2006

SOMALIA: Mogadishu calm as death toll rises to 97

NAIROBI, 11 Jul 2006 (IRIN) - Calm returned to Mogadishu, the Somali capital, on Tuesday after two days of fighting between the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and militia loyal to two faction leaders left 97 dead.

"The situation is calm, with Qeybdid's [warlord Abdi Hassan Awale] forces handing over their weapons to the courts," said Hassan Ade of Mogadishu-based HornAfrik Radio.

He said UIC forces were now in control of areas previously held by Qeybdid. "They [Qeybdid's forces] surrendered last night," after initially refusing to do so, he added. Ade said Qeybdid had disappeared, and "his current whereabouts are not known".

There are reports that "he is wounded and has been taken to a hotel in north Mogadishu, for safety reasons", another source said.

The latest fighting, concentrated in the K6 area and the district of Medina, south and southwest of Mogadishu respectively, was the UIC's last push to dislodge Qeybdid from his final outpost.

The fighting also targeted militiamen loyal to Hussein Aideed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior in the Transitional Federal Government.

Qeybdid was the only member of the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter Terrorism, which was defeated by the UIC on 4 June, to remain in Mogadishu.

Hospital sources told IRIN the death toll was "now over 90" after two days of fighting.

"We confirmed 43 yesterday [Monday] and 54 Sunday, a total of 97 deaths," said a doctor in Medina hospital. However, he cautioned: "These numbers are only the ones we have seen. We have reports that both sides had buried many of their dead in the battle-field."

He said various hospitals in the city were treating 449 people injured in the two days of fighting.

Thousands of people have fled their homes. "More people fled yesterday's fighting, which was [more intense] than Sunday's," said Dahir Muhammad Dheere, a resident in Buulo Hubey of Medina district.

He said the most affected areas were "parts of Hodan district, Waberi, [all in south Mogadishu] and Medina, including Buulo Hubey. In some areas you will be lucky to find anyone. The streets are empty."

He said even though there was no fighting on Tuesday, no one had yet returned to his neighbourhood.

"It is very quiet today but my family has not returned and no one else has," Dahir Dheere said. "I think people are waiting to see what happens next before venturing back. They may return if this holds for another day."



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