Thousands of Somalis flee Kismayo port city

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Some of the Somalis leaving Kismayo are using donkey carts to transport their belongings. © UNHCR/B.Bannon

Over 10,000 Somalis have fled from the port city of Kismayo in anticipation of military activities and new clashes, according to the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR).

Reports from Somalia indicate that African Union troops in the country are preparing to liberate Kismayo which has been a stronghold of the Al Shabaab insurgents.

UNHCR says up to 7,500 people have fled in the past four days alone.

UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards says most of those leaving the city are planning to return as soon as the situation stabilizes.

"Most of the internally displaced Somalis are leaving Kismayo and its surroundings on minibuses. Poorer households undertake the journey in lorries and trucks, in some cases using donkey carts. The majority of those displaced are heading to villages in other parts of Kismayo district as well as villages in the neighbouring Jilib and Jamame districts. Some are also moving towards Mogadishu and Dadaab refugee camps. There are reports of sporadic militia attacks and looting. The displaced also fear being caught in the crossfire and possible reprisal attacks by armed groups operating in the town."

Duration: 31″

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