SOMALIA.— Seven Somali refugees were killed Friday during a fight over food supplies in the Badbaado refugee camp in Mogadishu.
Reportedly, the shooting occurred while refugees were waiting in line for food, some report that it was a clash between government soldiers and the refugees when several people attempted to grab food supplies.
Several refugees accused government soldiers of starting the chaos by trying to steal some of the rations that aid workers were trying to distribute at the camp. Refugees then joined in the fight prompting soldiers to open fire, the witnesses reported. A refugee at the camp, Mahamed Ali, said several other people were wounded in the incident.
“They fired on us as if we were their enemy,” said refugee Abidyo Geddi. “When people started to take the food then the gunfire started and everyone was being shot. We cannot stay here much longer. We don’t get much food and the rare food they bring causes death.”
U.S. and U.N. officials acknowledge that some aid in Somalia is bound to be stolen during delivery.
“Will there be losses? Sure. Will there be some looting? Of course there will be. What we have to do to try to minimize it,” said WFP spokesman David Orr. “This is the highest risk environment in the world, the safety of our staff and getting food into the right hands are our highest priorities.”
The draught has driven thousands of Somalis to Mogadishu in search of food. Almost 100,000 have arrived at Mogadishu in the last two months alone.
According to the UN half of the country’s population, almost 3.2 million people, “are in need of immediate life-saving assistance.” The UN estimates that roughly 29,000 children have died due to famine in the past month.
“The move comes in response to a situation that is becoming ever more desperate. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis face life-threatening food and water shortages,” said Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
As of now, nearly 12 million people in the Horn of Africa need aid supplies.