Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 13:56 GMT

Somalia: Africa Union offensive in Kismayo exacerbates displacement

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 23 August 2012
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Somalia: Africa Union offensive in Kismayo exacerbates displacement, 23 August 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/50387c54c.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

An offensive on the Southern Somali port city of Kismayo, considered one of al-Shebaab's last strongholds, by the UN-backed African Union (AU) has caused civilian casualties and the displacement of people from their homes.

Reports suggest that on August, 14th Kenyan AU troops started bombarding the city. Thousands of Kismayo's residents are believed to have fled the city in anticipation of the attacks, though no accurate figures are known as yet. "There is a large IDP population and they are very likely to get caught up in the fighting," said Justin Brady, a UN official working on Somalia. The displaced are mostly migrating towards the Jubba river and Mogadishu, putting increased strain on pre-existing IDP communities in these regions.

The UN's Somalia Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Bowden fears that "civilians may get trapped between fighting forces , further restricting their access to life-saving support and humanitarian assistance".

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