United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for an end to the violence raging in Somalia, where hundreds of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands of others forced to flee their homes in recent days.
“The Secretary-General is gravely concerned about the continuing heavy fighting in Mogadishu, which has reportedly killed more than 250 people and forced more than 320,000 from their homes in the past six days alone,” spokesman Michele Montas told reporters in New York.
“He deplores the reported indiscriminate use of heavy weapons against civilian population centres, which is in disregard of international humanitarian law,” she added in a statement.
Mr. Ban called on the parties to “immediately cease all hostilities and to facilitate access for the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance,” reiterating that there is no military solution to the Somali conflict and renewing his call for an urgent resumption of political dialogue.
UN agencies warned last week that efforts to deliver relief aid to Somalis in need are being hampered by the security situation in the capital, and warned of a looming humanitarian crisis there.
In December 2006, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), backed by Ethiopian forces, dislodged the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) from Mogadishu and much of the rest of the country, which has not had a functioning government since 1991.