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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 08:21 GMT
Displaced in Somalia: Abdullahi
Somalis describe their lives in and around the capital, Mogadishu, amidst violence between insurgents and government troops backed by Ethiopian forces.

Doctor Abdullahi (not his real name), 36, returned home to Mogadishu nine months ago after living and working abroad.

Elderly Somali woman carried in a wheelbarrow
Wheelbarrows are used in Mogadishu to transport the sick
I studied outside of Somalia for my university education and returned at the time when the Islamic courts were still in power, but after one month of coming back everything was turned upside down.

When I first came back we could drive around Mogadishu but now never, we would never think of driving around the city.

It is too unsafe.

The other night there was trouble from 1800 until 2300 hours local time; there was indiscriminate firing of heavy machine guns and mortars in and around our houses.

This is where civilians live.

It lasted for four hours and we could not stand, all we could do was lay down. I was on the floor with my children and all I could see was flashes of light.

Bled to death

I could hear my neighbour crying "help me, help me" outside but I could not go to him.

I can't describe how I felt.

His entire family was outside; he had been injured by shrapnel during the shelling.

They know that I am a doctor and were calling me to help, but I could not move.

Cars cannot move during these times, there is no-one moving outside.

We could not have even gotten him to a hospital. He bled to death. I can't tell you how it feels when you can't help your friend like this.

Time for humanity

Civilians are being trapped between the insurgents and the army. If there is fighting in town normal people are trapped.

I have heard of a mortar landing on a tea shop with 15 people being injured and five people being killed.

Somalis flee Mogadishu with their belonging loaded onto donkey carts

But when it happens at night there is nothing you can do, you can't move until morning.

It's just not worth the risk to move at night, you will just lose more lives than just the injured - 99% of the stories you hear about people dying are at night; there is just no way to get to a hospital after dark.

The next morning when I passed the area that was heaviest hit, I couldn't believe that I was passing the same area I had walked past the night before on my way home.

The telephone wires and electricity cables were lying broken on the ground. You couldn't believe it.

We are waiting for our chance, because we have no real chance now.

Right now life is just a matter of luck.

You know they call this the Sunni triangle, like around Baghdad.

This is the worst time for us, but I will stay, I would even work for free as today is a time for humanity.

Fierce clashes on the streets of Mogadishu


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