(ERGO) – Waves of attacks and robberies on the outskirts of Mogadishu are causing fear and panic among hundreds of drought-displaced families camping in flimsy shelters without any protection.
A week ago, armed men wearing military uniforms with their faces covered attacked Musbah camp in Lafole, 22 km west of Mogadishu on the road to Afgoye.
Sharif Aden Derow, who was the chairman of Musbah, described how the armed attackers rampaged through the camp stealing relief food and mobile phones from families inside their huts. He moved his family to Falay camp in Hodan district in Mogadishu.
According to Sharif at least 25 of the 133 families registered in Musbah have fled to find space elsewhere within the city.
“Six men came to us at night and told us they were security forces keeping the security. They instructed us to switch off our mobile phones, and they took our phones and the food we had been given by some students a day ago,” Sharif told Radio Ergo.
“After that we were living in fear that they might come back and rape our wives,” he added. Musbah is a huddle of flimsy huts made of sticks and rags on an open unfenced piece of land that had been given to the IDPs by the local people.
Similar attacks took place at three other IDP camps, including Awale, from where 75 packed up and fled to the city.
Sharif, who comes from Qoryoley – a drought-stricken district of Lower Shabelle – said most people could not afford to move their families to safer camps as they lacked even the money for bus fares.
Insecurity has been rife for some time in this part of Lower Shabelle region, bordering the metropolitan area of Mogadishu. There have been numerous reports of armed groups assaulting local people and stopping and robbing passing vehicles.
Lafole falls under the authority of the South West regional administration. Ayan Hassan, chairwoman of Lafole village, told Radio Ergo’s reporter in Mogadishu they were aware of the incidents and had asked the federal government security agencies to respond. The federal internal security ministry spokesman, Ahmed Arab, was not available to comment on the security situation.
Nimo Ahmed Ga’al, from Baidoa, said she was living with her three children in Musbah camp in fear of further armed robberies. “I don’t know what they will do to us if they come again. When they don’t get anything from us, they threaten us, they ask us to show them where we havew hidden the food even if we don’t have any,” she said.
Nimo has been scouring areas nearer the city for a place to move her children but so far has not been given a space in another camp.