MOGADISHU, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — An upsurge in insecurity and conflict has displaced about 34,000 people in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia over the last few months, the UN said.
Citing latest figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-led protection and return monitoring network, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the majority of the displaced are women and children.
OCHA said threats of new displacements remain due to the ongoing military activities in some of the areas, noting that those displaced have mainly sought refuge in urban and peri-urban areas of Mogadishu, Baidoa, Galkayo and Kismayo.
“Despite the recent developments to calm the situation, the rise in displacement in Lower Shabelle has resulted in a significant increase in humanitarian needs within the region, where some areas are particularly hard-to-reach, and in Mogadishu, where most of the displaced have fled,” OCHA said in its latest report released late Monday.
The African Union and Somali forces have stepped up their military operations against the militants in southern Somalia in the recent past.
The al-Qaida linked terrorist group al-Shabab has also stepped up their onslaught on the government and AU mission’s bases after being forced out of the capital and other major urban areas in Somalia by national and African Union forces
Targets have included hotels, military checkpoints, and the presidential palace.
According to OCHA, information on the extent of the humanitarian impact in the areas of origin remains limited due to insecurity, limited humanitarian presence and access to some areas.
It said the displaced populations live in dire conditions, noting that an increase in protection issues, particularly the restriction of movement, arbitrary arrests and civilian casualties and the destruction of properties and livelihood assets are major concerns.
“Some IDPs in Mogadishu have also reportedly shown interest in returning home as soon as the security situation permits,” OCHA said.
According to UN, some 2.6 million people remain displaced in Somalia. Some of them have been displaced multiple times as the value of the land that hosted them rises and landowners seek other ways of exploiting their value.