Nairobi (20 May 2004) – Senior United Nations officials responsible for Somalia have expressed deep regret and concern about recent factional fighting in Mogadishu which has claimed the lives of dozens of innocent civilians, including women and children.
The UN Secretary-General’s Representative for Somalia Mr. Winston Tubman and the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mr. Maxwell Gaylard said today, “We are shocked by reports of the scale and ferocity of the recent fighting in Mogadishu, and deeply concerned over the plight of the many civilian inhabitants of the city who have been struggling for many years to achieve a measure of peace and normality. We extend our condolences to the families of those who have been killed, and our sympathies to the thousands of others whose lives have been disrupted.”
The fighting in the northern part of the city was reported to have broken out on 9 May 2004 and continued for some days. The situation remains tense, with incidents of sporadic shooting. At least sixty people are reported to have been killed, more than half of them civilians caught in cross-fire and bombardment by artillery and other heavy weapons. Some 200 have been injured, again most of them civilians. Thousands more have been displaced by the fighting, and there are reports of serious individual human rights violations against civilians by militia members involved in the conflict.
The United Nations officials called upon the leaders responsible for the fighting to put an end to the armed conflict and to resolve their differences by peaceful means, as agreed in the early stages of the on-going Somali peace and reconciliation process.
For more information, please contact:
Sandra Macharia, Information Officer, UNDP Somalia
Tel: (254 20) 4448434; Fax: (254 20) 4448439; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org