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Somali refugees to flee to Kenya as fighting rages

03-01-2011 14:49 BJT

NAIROBI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Somali refugees fleeing continuing fighting between the transitional government and the militant group Al Shabaab have flocked to Kenyan town of Mandera, a relief agency said on Monday. The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said at least 400 refugees had been registered by Sunday evening as renewed fighting along the common border continued to intensify.

"Following heavy fighting between Al Shabaab militants and forces allied to the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia along the Kenya-Somalia border, hundreds of refugees are scattered in Mandera town and its environs," KRCS said. The humanitarian agency said a cease-fire along the border, most part of Sunday enabled the KRCS personnel to start registration of refugees that would facilitate distribution of relief aid. "A team comprising the Provincial Administration, KRCS and medical officers, have identified a site for a temporary refugee camp. KRCS has also deployed to Mandera relief items for 1000 households (6,000 people)," the statement said.

Troops of the transitional government and the forces of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) launched an offensive against Al- Shabaab positions in the Dayniile and Hodanin neighbourhoods of Mogadishu last Wednesday. According to UNHCR, some 300 Somalis fleeing the fighting have crossed the border into Kenya over the past few days.

The latest fighting left at least eight Kenyans seriously wounded last week Thursday after they were hit by stray bullets fired by Al Shabaab militants. Somalia generates the highest number of refugees in the world, after Afghanistan and Iraq. There are an estimated 1.5 million internally displaced persons inside Somalia and more than 680,000 Somalis live as refugees in neighbouring countries, according to UNHCR.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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