Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2017, 09:48 GMT

Somalia: UXOs pose a grave danger to returnees

Publisher IRIN
Publication Date 29 January 2009
Cite as IRIN, Somalia: UXOs pose a grave danger to returnees, 29 January 2009, available at: [accessed 11 December 2017]
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.

NAIROBI, 29 January 2009 (IRIN) - Zahra Osman and her family spent 18 months in a crowded camp for displaced people on the outskirts of the capital. When Ethiopian troops pulled out of her Mogadishu neighbourhood recently, she hurried to return home.

"We went back a day after the Ethiopians left," she said. "Our compound was overgrown with wild trees, so my husband started clearing it. All of a sudden I heard a big explosion; when I came out, I found my husband bleeding from everywhere. I shouted for help but it was too late, he died."

Osman, a mother of four, returned to the IDP camp for safety, saying she was worried for her children.

"I cannot take a chance of them picking up a dangerous thing," she added.

Her husband, Ali Osman, was the victim of the many unexploded ordnances (UXO) littering parts of the city, according to Ali Sheikh Yassin of the Elman Human Rights Organisation (EHRO), based in Mogadishu.

"Many IDPs are finding that their homes are infested with these unexploded bombs; unfortunately it is one more danger to add to the plight of these people," Yassin said.

UXOs, particularly in north Mogadishu, where much of the fighting took place, are "the biggest danger to the returning population", he said.

"Most children in these neighbourhoods have been away for the past two years. Now that they can return to their homes, they will do what kids do ? play; but there is a very real risk of being killed or maimed by what is left in their homes and compounds."

Yassin said there was an urgent need to remove these deadly weapons, "unless we want the IDPs in camps for ever".

Dahir Mohamed, deputy director of Madina Hospital - the largest in the city - said they were seeing more and more people injured by UXOs.

"Unfortunately we are receiving them on a daily basis and most are children," he said.

Mohamed told IRIN of a mother and her 10-year-old son, who were brought in on 28 January. "The mother has serious abdominal injuries and the boy is almost blind. Unless he gets advanced treatment he will most likely become blind - and that is just one tragedy," he said.


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