UNHCR calls for respect for civilian life and aid agencies as mortar attacks continue in Somali capital
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 27 March 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR is concerned at a continuation in mortar attacks in Mogadishu, which claimed three more lives yesterday. Several mortars landed in the Beerta Darawiishta (Darwish) settlement for internally displaced people near the Somali Parliament building in the Waardhiigley district of the Somali capital at around 0215 on Monday morning. It is reported that three internally displaced people, including a father and his three year old child, were killed and eight others - five women and three men - were seriously injured.
The target of the attack is believed to have been pro-government forces near the parliament building. However, just as in a similar attack last week on the presidential palace Villa Somalia - the first such attack since August 2011, when anti-government forces withdrew from the majority of districts in the capital - the mortars did not reach their intended target, and instead landed among the IDPs.
There were also mortar attacks on Villa Baidoa and Villa Somalia over the weekend. No civilian casualties were reported. Anti-government forces are reported to have instructed IDPs to move away from areas surrounding the presidential palaces as they intended to continue their attacks.
UNHCR notes that pro-government forces are implementing practices to reduce the impact of indirect fire on the civilian population and further notes that civilians were given advance notice of the recent military activity in Afgooye which allowed them to vacate the area safely and seek assistance in Mogadishu and other areas.
For further information on this topic, please contact:
In Nairobi, Kenya (Somalia Ops): Andreas Needham on mobile +254 733 120 931
In Nairobi (UNHCR regional hub): Vivian Tan on mobile: +254 735 337 608