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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 16:03 GMT
Eyewitness: 'Waiting to die in Mogadishu'
Accountant Isa Ali Gedi, 36, spoke to the BBC News website from his home in Waxar Ade in the north of Mogadishu about the fierce fighting that is continuing in Somalia's capital.

Three children in Somalia
The fighting in Mogadishu means that children are being kept at home, out of school
My wife and my children are crying.

My oldest child is 12 years old, my youngest is three months old. Some of them are hiding under the bed because they are frightened.

Some of our neighbours are also here, together with us.

All the women and the children are crying because of the state of our world, our city.

Questions

And everyone keeps asking me questions.

Even before the fighting began again on Wednesday, people would always come to my house to ask me what is happening in the world and if we are going to be killed.

I can't ever answer them. I really cannot.

I do not have the answers.

Sometimes they will stop the fighting and then just whenever you think that the war has finished, it begins again.

The worst

I don't like the fighters and I try not to ever go near them. I stay away, as far as I possibly can and I keep the women and children away too.

All I can do is run away from the bullets and try to stay alive so I can look after my family

I don't want any of the women or children killed by them.

Since 1990 there has been fighting going on, sometimes it is heavy and sometimes there's a rest for a while, but this is the worst I have experienced.

It is the worst since this war began, so long ago.

The fighting is around the north-east of Mogadishu. It is horrific what is going on between the two rival forces - the militia of Islamists are fighting the warlords and businessmen who make up the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism.

The fighting has been moving eastwards. Now I am at least 7km (four miles) away from it. Yesterday, however, I was very near. I was so close.

I thought I was dying. Really, really I thought that I was going to die.

No escape

Bullets were flying everywhere - my roof is damaged from the stray ones. The fighting was all around us. Our ears were filled with explosions and gunfire. There were even mortars.

Militiamen in Mogadishu

A Somali cannot run away.

There is no place to run to, there is no place to hide. We cannot run from the war. We have no escape.

We are waiting for our time to die, and it could happen any day.

There have been three days, so far, of fighting. We hear the noises and the children - where are they?

They are under the bed. They can't go to school, they can't play, they can't eat and they can't drink. They are afraid.

Help

What can I do?

I am doing what I can. I am an educated man, an accountant, but all I can do is run away from the bullets and try to stay alive so I can look after my family. But living here in this situation with nowhere to go, really, it is just like waiting for death.

Map of Somalia showing capital city, Mogadishu

The world can stop this fighting and help us Somalis.

If support for the two groups ceased then the war would stop - the Islamists, supported by al-Qaeda, must be stopped and likewise the Americans must not help the other group to continue to fight.

If it is not ended all the people will die.

I hope that all the world's people, especially those in the developed countries, will help the Somali people who are dying. Please, I want you to stop the war in Mogadishu.

We are helpless. We are hopeless. We are dying with hunger and from bullets.




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