- Title: Hundreds of Somali families flee U.S. air strikes to Mogadishu
- Date: 13th March 2020
- Summary: MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (MARCH 12, 2020) (REUTERS) VIEW OF DISPLACED PEOPLE IN A CAMP WOMAN'S FACE WOMAN WITH CHILDREN SITTING ON THE GROUND SHUKRAN OSMAN ROBLE'S FACE SHUKRAN OSMAN ROBLE SITTING WITH OTHER DISPLACED PEOPLE (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) SHUKRAN OSMAN ROBLE, DISPLACED PERSON, SAYING: 'I fled from the area around Qoryoley town because of hunger and air strikes. We have been here for a week. We ran for our lives on foot. We were on the road for eight days. We were carrying the children in our arms. We could not walk any further because of hunger and fatigue. We just sat beside the road until we got a lift from some drivers who offloaded the jerry cans they were carrying so we could fit." NADIFA HUSSEIN MOHAMED STANDING AMIDST DISPLACED PEOPLE CROWD OF DISPLACED PEOPLE SITTING ON THE GROUND SLEEPING CHILD'S FACE VARIOUS OF DISPLACED WOMEN AND CHILDREN VARIOUS OF OLD WOMAN SITTING AND STARING (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) NADIFA HUSSEIN MOHAMED, CAMP MANAGER, SAYING: "My three camps were already congested with displaced people, now 480 new people have come. Some of them have shelter, others are left in the open. I have not gone to the areas where there are airstrikes. These people told me they fled from air strikes in the areas of Janaale and Qoryoley towns. Forty families have fled from the air strikes and they have only kettles. They have nothing else. They do not even have mats to sleep on. They have no food. No one has helped them." VARIOUS OF FATUMA UMAR, DISPLACED PERSON, LIGHTING THE FIRE UNDER AN IRON KETTLE (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) FATUMA UMAR, DISPLACED WOMAN, SAYING: "We have fled from air strikes in the areas between Janaale town and Ugunji village. We fled because many planes hover and bomb those areas. Some of our neighbors were killed by the air strikes and now we hear after we fled more other civilians were killed by air strikes." VARIOUS OF DISPLACED PERSON PEELING A BANANA CHILD STARING
- Keywords: U.S. Africa Command U.S. air strikes al Shabaab insurgency
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4VYCT3
- Location: MOGADISHU, SOMALIA
- City: MOGADISHU, SOMALIA
- Country: Somalia
- Duration: 00:03:39
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Insurgencies
- Story Text: Hundreds of Somalis say they have fled to the capital from areas where U.S. air strikes are targeting al Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgents, raising questions over the impact of air strikes are having on civilians.
Shukran Osman Roble, a 70-year-old who fled with her grandchildren, said she sought refuge in the capital a week ago along with her grandchildren.
"We fled from air strikes and hunger," she said. "We ran for our lives on foot."
The strikes, along with support for Somali special forces, are one of the keyways that the United States supports the weak Somali government against the al Shabaab insurgency, which wants to seize power and impose their own strict version of Islamic law.
The Somali army is mostly poorly trained and equipped. This month, it has been fighting regional state militias instead of al Shabaab, frustrating American diplomats who want them to unite against al Shabaab.
U.S. Africa Command carried out 63 strikes last year and 26 air strikes so far this year. A local lawmaker and residents said a strike on Tuesday near the town of Janaale killed six civilians in a minibus. Africa Command said the strike killed five al Shabaab insurgents.
Nadifa Hussein Mohamed, who owns the land where many of the families were camping, told Reuters about 480 people from around 40 families had fled from Janaale and Qoryoley town in the Lower Shabelle regions in the past couple of weeks.
"They have only kettles. They have nothing else. They do not have even mats to sleep on," she said. "They have no food ... No one has helped them."
Those camping on her land at Kilometer 13 in northwestern Mogadishu were mostly women and young children; the men and boys had gone out to beg or try to earn a few pennies shoe shining, she said.
Fatuma Umar, a mother of four children, told Reuters she had fled Janaale before the latest strike after hearing many explosions while working on her farm. She had heard civilians were killed in the last strike, she said, but was unable to offer any details.
"We have fled from air strikes in the areas between Janaale town and Ugunji village. We fled because many planes hover and bomb those areas," she said. "Some of our neighbors were killed by the air strikes and now we hear after we fled more other civilians were killed by air strikes."
She did not know how the U.S. strikes were targeted, but assumed they bombed lights they saw at night and so were careful not to use their mobile phones or light fires.
Africa Command said it investigates any reports of civilian deaths, but so far it has only verified two civilian deaths in 2018 despite carrying out scores of strikes. It's unclear how the strikes are investigated.
(Production: Abdirahman Hussein, Abdi Sheikh)
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