Seven Somalis Killed by Security Forces During Food Handout

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At least seven people have been killed after a gunfight broke out between rival security forces in Somalia – during a food aid handout mission.

Twelve additional people were also injured in the clash, as policemen and soldiers exchanged fire. “There was exchange of gunfire between policemen who were guarding a distribution site and members from the military,” police officer Mohamed Burhan said. He also confirmed seven civilians were killed in the crossfire.

Calls for justice

Witnesses have claimed children were among those killed in the gun fight and United Nations envoy to Somalia, Nick Hay, has expressed his shock at the news. The UN representative condemned the “shooting of civilians queuing for food rations,” insisting that the “perpetrators must face justice.”

The conflict broke out at a camp for refugees and asylum seekers in the Afgoye corridor, where thousands live in poor conditions, relying on food aid and other humanitarian donations for survival.

It’s not yet clear why the fighting started between rival forces. The area is part of a key route leading northwest from Mogadishu, which was once under the control of militant group Al-Shabaab, until it was driven out in 2012.

 

Witness accounts

While people wait for answers as to how seven civilians could be caught in a fatal crossfire between rival forces, witnesses have to take stock of their first-hand experiences.

“It was horrible,” witness Mumino Dinow told AFP. “I saw several dead people including a woman, child and two elderly men,” he added. “Many people were waiting in lines receiving cards for food aid distribution when the gunfight broke out.”

Tens of thousands of people live in displacement camps around the nation’s capital after escaping conflict and severe floods in separate regions of the country.

 

Featured image:

Beledweyne Somalia food aid” by C. Kihara, CARE organization – USAID. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.