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Over 7,000 displaced in Somalia's Galmudug region after military pullback

Friday March 22, 2024


MOGADISHU (HOL) — Over 7,000 people have been displaced in Somalia's central Galmudug region in just four days, according to the United Nations refugee agency. The evacuation comes after Somali military forces vacated several areas starting March 10, 2024, creating a power vacuum that insurgent groups, notably al-Shabab, have quickly filled.

In late 2023, the Somali government began military operations to recapture several key locations within Galmudug, including districts such as Bacadweyn, Camaara, Caad, and Hiinlabi. These efforts had previously allowed for a degree of governmental control and facilitated the delivery of some humanitarian aid and protection to the residents.

However, the sudden withdrawal of government troops this March led to immediate civilian unrest and displacement as fears of retaliatory attacks by al-Shabab escalated. In its recent alert, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) highlighted the swift civilian exodus from these now insecure districts. The displaced, comprising the elderly, children, and women, among other vulnerable groups, have sought refuge in areas like Galkayo, Mirjicley, Wisil, and Wajeela.

This mass movement has resulted in significant humanitarian concerns, with many of the displaced lacking proper shelter, exposing them to various risks, including gender-based violence and family separations. Moreover, the departure from their homes has left many facing severe food insecurity and psychological distress.

Somali officials are calling on the international community, along with local stakeholders, to address the pressing needs of these vulnerable populations and prevent further human suffering.


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