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Conflict forces families to flee their farms in southern Somalia’s Bay region

Saturday August 14, 2021

Radio Ergo's local correspondent Muhyadin Husni interviews displaced farmer Isack Mohamed Ibrahim/Ergo

(ERGO) – Isack Mohamed Ibrahim, a farmer with two wives and eight children, is staying with relatives in Baidoa after fleeing his farm in a conflict-ridden part of southern Somalia’s agricultural Bay region.

“The worst part of the fighting is the heavy weapons fired at civilian homes. People are being wiped out by the artillery shells landing on their homes,” he said, describing the conflict going on between government forces and Al-Shabab in his home town of Daynuney, 25 kilometres southeast of Baidoa.

Isaq supported his family from the produce of his three hectare farm but they are now going hungry, sleeping out in the cold, and eating what their relatives can afford to share. It is hard to get three meals.

Around 450 families have been displaced from Daynuney by conflict since the beginning of August. Most have arrived in Baidoa, after walking the 25 kilometres to join IDP camps there. Others have settled with relatives in the town. Around 100 families fled to villages around Daynuney.

Fadumo Mohamed Birkan, an elderly mother of six, said she and her bedridden husband were transported free of charge by a vehicle headingto Baidoa. Her children, the youngest aged 15, walked to Baidoa.

They fled from their home empty handed in the panic to leave and are now without food and shelter in Towfiq1 IDP camp. Fadumo said theyare depending on help from neighbours.

“My husband and I were both sick when we were told by our children that the people were running away. We have settled here in this open field in the camp. It’s very windy and cold. We haven’t eaten anything since this morning,” she told Radio Ergo.

Daynuney local administration officials visited Baidoa to assess the situation of the displaced families.Ibrahim Sheikh Isack, the governor of Daynuney,said he had met with the South West state’s regional administration and aid agencies, who promised to provide assistance.

The governor said there were only 20 families left out of the 570 families resident in Daynuney. Those remaining were mainly older men who stayed to guard their homes.

“Since the people I represent have been displaced, I spend some of my days here so that I can monitor the conditions of both Daynuney and that of the displaced people,” he told Radio Ergo’s local reporter in Baidoa.

Mohamed Abdirizak Hassan of the South West administration’s refugee and displacement agency said they have registered 450 displaced families from Daynuney in the past two weeks. Most need help with housing, water and food.

“We hope these people will be supported immediately. They are complaining about lack of food, shelter and water. We sent an appeal to humanitarian agencies and we hope they will respond to our call,” he said.

There were an estimated 60,000 displaced families already in Baidoa before this new wave of IDPs arrived.


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