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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 00:24 GMT
Displaced in Somalia: Faduma
Somalis describe their lives in and around the capital, Mogadishu, amidst violence between insurgents and government troops backed by Ethiopian forces.

Mother-of-two Faduma, 22, has lived in a camp for displaced people in central Mogadishu since she fled south from Baidoa seven years ago.

Injured Somali girl lies on the ground while she waits to be taken to hospital in Mogadishu (10/11/2007)
Women and children in Mogadishu are especially vulnerable
I actually returned to Baidoa in April this year when there was heavy fighting here in Mogadishu but I came back recently because my husband was hit in his face by a stray bullet and so I had to look after him.

We have a lot problems - no food, no medicine and we can't just walk to go and find these things.

We don't feel safe.

There are children sick in our houses.

When the children get sick we have no medical facility to go to so we just recite the Koran - or we use a traditional burning method where you give a small burn on a different part of the body depending on what sort of sickness the baby has. Or we try herbal medicine.

There are a few hospitals near our camp but they don't accept us because we don't have money.

Rape

They only take the most serious cases, like the wounded or gunshots.

A DISPLACED LIFE
Somalis flee Mogadishu with their belonging loaded onto donkey carts

My own child died of diarrhoea. In the last year though it has been a little better and fewer children have died from diarrhoea but it will get worse when the rains start.

There is a lot of rape. One woman in our camp was gang raped. Some men came in from outside, took her baby from her and gave the baby to the father, and then three men raped her.

I even heard of a 70-year-old woman who was bound and raped by a man with a knife when she was walking to the tailor.

It is terrible. We don't know of any treatment; we can't go anywhere for help.

After midnight

During the fighting, six months ago, there was an increase in the number of rapes.

But since the transitional federal government said no-one could walk around at night the number of cases has decreased.

map

This is because it is not so easy anymore to enter our camp after dark.

We don't go out because of security.

We don't even go to the toilet at night. We now take bedpans into our shelters because if you walk to the latrines at night you will surely be raped after midnight.

The main problem with the camp though is that it doesn't have gates and so anyone can just come in and out.

Just be kind

In our camp none of the husbands have divorced their wives after being raped because everyone knows it is not the woman's fault.

AFRICA HAVE YOUR SAY
Ethiopia should pull out its troops before it is too late, they are part of the problem not part of the solution
Mustafa, Leicester

She will be ok, people don't look badly on her.

There are not those sorts of problems here because sometimes women are even raped in front of her father, husband, family and baby and they cannot stop it.

The biggest problem is that she doesn't wake up the next day. She just lies down and doesn't wake up.

We live in a small area - roughly a space of four metres by four metres and in this space there are three to four families.

When a woman is raped everyone is aware because you can hear the woman screaming.

So we go to her afterwards but there is little we can do. We don't have guns, you can just be kind.



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Fierce clashes on the streets of Mogadishu



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