Deadly Shoot-Out Over Aid Underscores Dire Situation in Somalia

Refugees streaming across borders and into Mogadishu in search of food

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Armed raiders hit an aid camp in Mogadishu on Friday, sparking a gun battle that killed 10 people and injured 15 others, Reuters is reporting. Witnesses told the agency the dead included refugees who were shot in the firefight as "troops and residents looted truckloads of food meant for famine victims." The nation's famine is expanding, Reuters' AlertNet reported on Thursday, with three new areas now included in the classification. On Friday, the United Nations said a fourth refugee camp had opened across the border in Ethiopia, as victims of the famine continued to stream in. But the U.N. statement said the flow of refugees had slowed as Somalia's Al Shabaab rebels, who control much of the country, promised aid was on the way.

[U.N. High Commission for Refugees Somalia representative Bruno Geddo] was told that initially people had been advised by Al-Shabaab that humanitarian assistance was coming, so they stayed where they were in anticipation of its arrival. But by the end of July, the situation had not changed significantly and people decided to seek assistance elsewhere.

Now, refugees have begun flocking to the Ethiopian camps once more, as well as to Mogadishu, as news of large-scale aid deliveries there has spread, the agency said.

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