Mogadishu violence displaced 88,000 people - UN

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NAIROBI, Nov 1 (Reuters) Three days of fighting in the Somali capital Mogadishu at the weekend displaced 88,000 people from their homes, adding to hundreds of thousands who fled violence earlier this year, the United Nations said today.

''You see groups of people spontaneously protesting, crying for help from the international community and wondering how long Mogadishu will keep on being destroyed,'' the UN refugee agency UNHCR quoted a staff member in Somalia as saying.

In an unprecedented statement, 39 aid agencies said this week they could not respond effectively to Somalia's unfolding ''humanitarian catastrophe'' due to insecurity in the Horn of Africa nation that has been in turmoil and anarchy since 1991.

A UN-backed interim government set up in 2004 is struggling to impose any real authority across the country and faces daily attacks on it -- and its Ethiopian military backers -- from Islamist-led insurgents.

With foreign correspondents largely staying out of Somalia for security reasons, and the international agenda dominated by other hotspots including Sudan's Darfur, aid workers fear the Somali crisis is not getting the attention it deserves.

REUTERS PD SSC1417

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