[QODLink]
Africa
Displaced Somalis return to capital
About 60,000 people have returned to Mogadishu since January, UN says.
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2009 12:09 GMT
 Nearly 1.3 million people are displaced within Somalia [EPA]

About 60,000 Somalis who fled fighting in the Somali capital have returned since the beginning of the year, the United Nations says.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that the internally displaced people were returning despite Mogadishu remaining unstable and lacking basic services.

"Many houses in the neighborhoods of return were destroyed in the heavy fighting that took place in Mogadishu in the last two years," Ron Redmond, a UNHCR spokesman, said.

Redmond said the majority returned from settlements for internally displaced people  in the country's southern and central regions.

More than 3,000 other people returned from neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia as well as from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, he said.

Hundreds of thousands of people who fled the city live in settlements along a 30km stretch of road to the west of Mogadishu. They lack tents, sanitary facilities and regular food. 

Many people return to the capital because they hear conditions have improved, Redmond said.

New government

There have been hopes that a new government voted in earlier this year will bring some measure of stability to Somalia, which has not had an effective central government since 1991.

Sharif Ahmed, the new president, was previously the leader of the Islamic courts union that brought some security when it controlled Mogadishu and the south of the country in late 2006. 

However, the violence continues as armed opposition groups have declared Ahmed a traitor forcing many people to leave the country. Since January, nearly 30,000 Somalis have fled to Kenya and Ethiopia.

The worst drought in 30 years has also displaced about 10,000 within the country.

The UNHCR assists more than 460,000 Somali refugees in nearby countries, in addition to co-ordinating protection and shelter activities for the 1.3 million displaced in Somalia.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Featured
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
Deaths of 13 Sherpas in Nepal has shone a light on dangerous working conditions in the Everest-climbing industry.
Al Jazeera investigation uncovers allegations of beatings and rape in Kenya's ongoing anti-terrorism operation.
Incumbent Joyce Banda has a narrow lead, but anything is possible in Malawi's May 20 elections.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
join our mailing list