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Somali Organizations say Bombings Struck Innocent Civilians

Somali Organizations say Bombings Struck Innocent Civilians

May 10, 2010

Oxfam partner organizations in Somalia report that nomadic herdsmen have been hit in recent bombing raids. According to the reports from local organizations in Afmadow district, bombs hit vital water sources as well as people and their animals who had gathered around bonfires to ward off mosquitoes.

Further reports confirmed that the bombings claimed the lives of at least 70 people in the district.

“These reports must be taken seriously. Under international law, combatants are obliged to avoid civilian targets, said Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada. ‘These communities are already struggling to survive after a severe drought followed by widespread flooding last year.”

Today, Oxfam and its partners warned that the recent escalation in violence is making it extremely difficult for aid agencies to reach people in need.

When fighting began in late December, 400,000 people were already homeless from the worst flooding in 50 years. Violence has now forced an additional 70,000 people from their homes, and has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation.

Oxfam, via its local partners, has been providing communities with emergency medical supplies, essential household items, and water chlorination services, as well as distributing food in areas where food is not locally available.

All parties to the conflict must to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, Fox said.

Oxfam Canada is accepting donations for Somali relief.
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