During the past week, there were no measurable changes in security in Mogadishu or other parts of South Central Somalia. Clashes between Ethiopian/Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and anti-government elements were reported daily causing additional displacement.
In Puntland and Somaliland’s disputed border region of Sool, tension remained high following clashes on 13 January between pro-Puntland militia and Somaliland forces in a village called Dhabansaar, around 60km west of Laas Caanood. No displacements were reported.
During the reporting period, several episodes targeting the freedom of the press occurred. On 12 January, a journalist working for Radio Gaalkacyo, was shot and critically wounded by unidentified gunmen. On 13 January, Somali security forces raided the offices of a private Mogadishu-based radio and arrested two of its journalists. On 15 January, the BBC’s provincial reporter for Hiran region was arrested by the local authorities. The National Union of Journalists (NUSOJ) and the Paris-based advocacy group Reporters without Borders condemned these attacks against freedom of the press in Somalia.
On 16 and 17 January, demonstrations against the rising rates of inflation took place in Bossaso and Gaalkacyo towns. According to the Food Security Analysis Unit’s (FSAU) latest brief (December 2007), imported food commodities prices for rice, sugar, vegetable oil, increased sharply throughout 2007 and are now at all time high levels in all the main markets of Somalia, which is negatively affecting poor families’ purchasing power and access to food . The soaring prices are caused by several factors including the continuing devaluation of the Somali shilling, increasing transportation costs and the escalating fighting in South Central parts of the country.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Mayfaa Reception Centre in Yemen reported that during the first two weeks of 2008, approximately 1,240 persons have arrived on the Yemen shores from Puntland. A majority of these new arrivals originate from Banadir, Hiran and the Shabelle regions and have explained that they fled due to the ongoing fighting in Somalia.
According to UNHCR’s Population Movement Tracking (PMT), during the first two weeks of January, nearly 20,000 IDPs have been displaced from Mogadishu.
On 14 January, members of the Education Cluster visited the Mogadishu/Afgooye stretch and noted the critical need for additional emergency education structures. There are currently 30 emergency schools catering for 7,400 displaced children. However, due to the constant influx of IDP families, around 4,000 children are on a waiting list to attend school.
WFP reported that a new round of monthly food distributions to 200,000 displaced in Mogadishu/Afgooye areas started this week. They will receive 3,286 MT of food.
Three incidences of looting took place during the reporting period. On 11 January, food and NFIs items provided by the Swiss NGO CARITAS were looted at a distribution point in Buuhoodle town (130km southwest of Laas Caanood). Due to the incident, CARITAS suspended further assistance to 500 IDPs in the area. Looting of WFP food aid was also reported in Dinsor (Bay region) and Kismayo.