SOMALIA: Nuuro Mohamed, "When will we stop running?"

News and Press Release
Originally published
DUSAMAREB, 7 January 2010 (IRIN) - For Nuuro Mohamed, 40, a mother of six, the past two years have been marked by constant flight. She fled her home in Huriwa district of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in early 2008 due to fighting between insurgents and government forces. With thousands of other families, they headed for the central town of Dusamareb in Galgadud region.

But from there she had to flee to the countryside three times because of fighting between rival Islamist groups. Her most recent displacement was on 2 January when fighting between warring groups broke out in Dusamareb. Mohamed now lives in a makeshift shelter in the village of Dudun Hagarey, 10km southwest of Dusamareb, among thousands of internally displaced persons struggling to survive under extremely difficult conditions. She spoke to IRIN on 6 January:

"We left Mogadishu because the security situation was so bad, particularly in Huriwa. Not a day passed without someone I knew or a neighbour being killed.

"I had heard that Dusamareb was a safe place and far from Mogadishu, so I brought the family here. Barely six months after our arrival, fighting broke out between Al-Shabab and Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a [two rival Islamist groups] and we had to flee again. This time we did not go far. We stayed close to the town in the hope that the fighting would end soon. It did, but then a few months later they fought again when Al-Shabab attacked the town.

"This is my third time to be displaced while in Dusamareb. It is as if the fighting is following me. I don't know what we have done wrong.

"We have been here since Sunday [3 January]. The worst problem we have is lack of water and shelter. We live under a tree. It is our home for now. I sometimes find myself wondering if we will ever stop running. They keep chasing us whenever we think we are safe. I think I will be running till the day I die. When will we stop running and live a normal life?

"I just wish and hope that my children will know peace and safety. I want them to have better life and future. I want them to go school like normal children before they are recruited [into militias].

"I don't know whether or not the situation will ever get better. I don't know how long we'll last in this place. I hope things will improve but I am not optimistic. I just pray that God will make these [the fighting groups] people see our suffering and stop the fighting and the killing."