Somalia: Heavy toll - Thousands flee as corpse collected

The UN has estimated that over 61,000 Mogadishu residents have fled from their homes in the past thirty days on account of the intensifying fighting in the Somali capital. Civilians are often caught in the crossfire of fighting between the insurgents and the Ethiopian backed government troops and they are paying the highest price in human lives and suffering. In the past week alone, 5,500 new refugees were looking for shelter in more the secure areas of Mogadishu or nearby Afgoye, a town already flooded by hundreds of thousands of refugees. Meanwhile, some respite appears to have arrived today: "today was hell - said a local MISNA source - in these hours we have collected the corpses of the victims; most of them were civilians. From what I can see in the city, I think the fighters are getting ready for new clashes, but today is Friday, a day which is supposed to be a holiday for Muslims of any faction". Meanwhile, as fighting continues in Mogadishu, Baidoa and other areas of the county, in Djibouti, the peace talks between the insurgents and the government are expected to resume next October 25. Yesterday, the special UN representative in Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has held a series of preparatory talks in New York with the two negotiating groups, which will then have to confront issues of national and political security, which may hold the future of the country in balance.