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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
'Too dangerous' to stay in Mogadishu
Smoke rises above the Somali capital, Mogadishu

Somali Fadumo Hussein Mohamud, 50, tells the BBC News website how she managed to flee the intense fighting in Mogadishu at the weekend for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates but had to leave her two brothers behind.

My heart is with my brothers but I cannot do anything for them at this time.

They are alone in our family home in Mogadishu.

My brothers are 17 and 15 years old. They were born to my late father's second wife.

Their mother and our father and sister were killed in the violence that followed the overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre [in 1991].

Somalis carry a wounded relative
Many civilians have been caught in the cross-fire

Our home is near to the presidential palace and the fighting has been very heavy around there because the militias are trying to capture it from the Ethiopians who have been fighting back very hard.

It [fighting] was going on right over our heads and we were praying it wouldn't reach us; wouldn't fall below to where we were.

By the end of the week, the fighting was growing worse and worse - unbelievably so because you somehow imagine that it cannot get any worse.

But it does.

I did not want to leave my brothers. I had hoped to stay longer with them in Mogadishu until I was in a position to be able to pay for them to accompany me out of Somalia.

'Too dangerous'

A couple of years ago, I was able to take my sisters to Abu Dhabi to where I live with my husband and my own family.

But towards the end of last week the fighting in Mogadishu was becoming too dangerous and I could not stay anymore.

My brothers said they would remain in our family home but that I must go. They understood that if I could've taken them with me, I would've.

Somali women carry belongings as they leave Mogadishu
Thousands of Somalis have been forced to flee Mogadishu

They kept telling me they would be alright. God willing I hope they will be.

I paid about $300 (152) to be taken by car to the airport where I then paid another $500 (253) to be allowed onto a small cargo plane taking khat to Abu Dhabi via Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Those planes do not normally take passengers but that night there were eight or nine of us on board with all the khat. It was not comfortable but it is better to go than to stay in Somalia.

It is not fair.

I don't know why these people are still fighting. Why do they keep killing?

Really, it is getting worse. I wish I knew what they wanted, why they keep bringing trouble to us Somalis.

They are refusing the return of law and order and if they continue like they are, even more innocent people will die and even more people will be hurt.

What is their aim? What do they want?

Us Somalis are afraid, we cannot live our lives. Sixteen years of fighting... it is too much.


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