Somali violence leaves more than 12 dead

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Fighting in the Somali capital has left at least 12 people dead, reports have said.

The resurgence of violence in Mogadishu between Ethiopian troops and insurgents comes as the country struggles to cope with thousands of displaced refugees and an outbreak of diarrhoea.

Dobley, a small Somali town 18km from the Kenyan border, has become home to 4,000 people displaced because of the violence.

Diarrhoea in the town has so far killed six children; in the past three days a makeshift isolation camp set up on the outskirts of Dobley to stem the spread of the disease has increased from 19 to 36 patients.

According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), medical supplies have run out of the camp, prompting some families to take their children home.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) report that people fleeing insecurity in Mogadishu are arriving in Dobley daily. Kenya's border with Somalia has remained closed since January 3rd.

Eric Laroche, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Somalia, warned: "Unless something is done, the humanitarian crisis is going to turn into a catastrophe very soon."

Since the beginning of February 213,000 Somalis are believed to have fled Mogadishu. Nearly 100,000 are reported to have moved to the provinces of Middle and Lower Shabelle (Shabelle Dhexe and Shabelle Hoose).

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