Somalia - UN voices alarm at plight of trapped civilians as fighting intensifies
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The United Nations today voiced alarm over the plight of Somali civilians caught up in the fighting pitting forces of the country's transitional government, who are backed by African Union peacekeepers, against insurgents of the Al-Shabaab armed group.
"We are particularly worried for the civilian population caught up in what appears to be a coordinated offensive against Al-Shabaab militants on multiple fronts, namely in Mogadishu, Beled Weyne in Hiiraan region, and Beled Hawo in the Gedo region," Melissa Fleming, spokesperson of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.
Troops of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the forces of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) launched an offensive against Al-Shabaab positions in the Dayniile and Hodanin neighbourhoods of Mogadishu on Wednesday.
UNHCR said that Ethiopian soldiers and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, a militia allied to the TFG, are also reported to have attacked Al-Shabaab fighters in Beled Weyne, central Somalia, and in the town of Bulla Hawo, close to Somalia's border with Kenya and Ethiopia.
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