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Up to 90,000 displaced in deadly Mogadishu clashes: UN

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The United Nations say up to 90,000 civilians were displaced in the Somali capital in three days of fighting, as aid groups warned that catastrophe was unfolding in the shattered nation.

 

The civilians were displaced in fighting on Saturday, Sunday and Monday that was "the worst in months," the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.

 

At least 10 civilians were killed in various incidents over the weekend, including one in which Ethiopian troops opened fire on demonstrators protesting against their presence in Somalia, witnesses and police sources said.

 

There was a lull in Mogadishu on Wednesday (local time), but civilians continued to flee the seaside metropolis that has seen a deadly escalation in the recent months, the agency said.

 

"You can feel tension in the air," the statement quoted an aid worker as saying.

 

"Everyone is afraid that the lull in fighting is not going to last. They fear the insurgents are organising themselves and that violence is going to be unleashed on an even higher scale."

 

In a separate statement, some 40 humanitarian groups warned that a catastrophe was unfolding in Somalia and that they could no longer meet the war-torn country's growing relief needs.

 

"There is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in south central Somalia," they said in a statement, whose signatories include CARE, Oxfam and Islamic Relief, among others.

 

The UNHCR said the displacement forced civilians out of Mogadishu and others to move within the city.

 

"Of the people who have left the capital since Saturday, about 46,000 have settled along the road linking Mogadishu to Afgooye," some 30 kilometres west of Mogadishu.

 

"Another 42,000 have either fled Mogadishu for areas outside the city or moved to safer neighbourhoods within the capital."

 

Source:AFP, November 01, 2007