Dangers Faced by Street Children of Mogadishu

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Written by Mohamed Shiil,

Published in : News, Human Rights

Shoe ShinerMogadishu, (insidesomalia.org) abandoned street children are not safe in the streets wrecked by the ongoing fighting in capital city.

Around 2,000 children live in the streets of Mogadishu based on a report released in 2005 by the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Most of street children face being caught in cross fire between TFG backed by Ethiopian army and Islamists. A twelve year old street boy called Mohamed Sahal told insidesomalia.org some of his close friends died in the shoot out in the capital, some were wounded and others taken as prisoners,’ I saw two friends of mine shot dead as they were trying cross a junction of one of the main streets in Mogadishu in Bar Ubah, Black Sea and Howl wadaag”.

Another risk is addiction to drugs such sniffing glue and a local narcotic drug Khat. Khat contains the alkaloid cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant which causes excitement and euphoria.

Mohamed Sahal earns meager wages by shinning shoes, but this is hard to come by in a city where people have fled and have other pressing issues on their mind.

Mohamed has spoken about his experience from the fighting in Mogadishu and how he had survived from the stray bullets, mortar shells, and rocket propelled grenades. ‘At least for two days consecutively I was hiding under the wooden kiosks where Khat is sold – known as Kabar”.

Mohamed sleeps in a small room he rented, which he shares with other people mostly elderly beggars and some other young street children who are also shoe shiners.

There are no statistics of the official number of the street boys killed or wounded in the fighting in Mogadishu but, many children were either killed or wounded in the recent fighting.

Homeless children get very little support from government, local community and by their relatives. In Somalia, children have little opportunity for education and rights.

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