UN calls on Saudi Arabia to stop deporting Somali refugees
The United Nation's refugee agency UNHCR on Friday urged Saudi Arabia to stop deporting Somali refugees to the war-torn Horn of Africa nation, dpa reported.
"Given the deadly violence in Mogadishu, UNHCR is urging the Saudi authorities to refrain from future deportations on humanitarian grounds," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.
Fleming said that Saudi Arabia had forced 2,000 Somalis seeking refuge from the constant barrage of shells and gunfire in the capital to return home.
Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab and its allies are fighting to oust the weak Western-backed government in Somalia, and civilians are often caught in the crossfire.
UNCHR said fighting in Mogadishu over the last few days, which killed dozens of civilians, highlighted the need for countries such as Saudi Arabia to properly assess Somali refugee's asylum claims.
Some 1.4 million people are internally displaced in Somalia, while hundreds of thousands of others have sought refuge abroad, in camps in neighbouring countries and also across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen.
Somalia has been immersed in chaos since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
The current insurgency, which kicked off after Ethiopia invaded in December 2006, has claimed the lives of more that 20,000 civilians.
Foreign jihadists have also moved in to the chaotic nation to set up training camps and plan regional attacks, Western diplomats say.
Al-Shabaab, which has links to the al-Qaeda network, claimed responsibility for twin blasts that killed 76 in the Ugandan capital Kampala during the World Cup final on July 11.
The attack, al-Shabaab's first on foreign soil, was in retaliation for the presence of Ugandan peacekeepers propping up the Somali government.