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Last updated: 15 May, 2007 - Published 15:08 GMT
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Somalia Suffering: A World Today Special
Militia in Mogadishu.
No Rule. The last 16 years in Somalia have been the dictionary definition of anarchy.

The existence of a provisional government hasn't changed that. The invasion of the Ethiopian army hasn't changed that.

 It is impossible for us even to go out of Mogadishu. We are compelled to live in our country and our town.
Isa Ali Gedi, Mogadishu resident.

In fact, the only bubble of relative security came when the so-called Union of Islamic Courts took over large parts of the country.

But they were driven out and the cloak of chaos has again descended on the country. Even when you're not being shot at, there are unexploded munitions everywhere.

So where did it all go wrong for somalia? Since the overthrown of President Muhammad Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has been mainly in the hands of rival warlords.

 The Islamic courts were a negative development for Somalia. The courts had their own ideological agenda. There was no doubt that Al Qaeda was deeply enmeshed with the courts.
Michael Ranneberger, US Ambassador, Kenya.

But the past few months, in which the Islamic Courts grew in authority and were then ejected, followed by a sustained insurgent uprising in Mogadishu have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and the flight of many thousands from the city.

The World today's East Africa correspondent, Adam Mynott, reports on crisis after crisis:

A month ago on the programme, we heard the heartbreaking story of Isa Ali Gedi, a typical Mogadishu resident.

His 16-year-old son had just been blown up by a mortar. Mr Gedi told us of his grief. He told us how he felt Somalia had been deserted by the outside world: by all the world governments and international organisations who could have done more.

Security in Somalia.
Security militia in Somalia.

But Mr Gedi has had little time to grieve properly for his lost son. In his bombed out house, he has seven other living children he must worry about.

The eldest is 18. The youngest just five months. The World Today asked Isa Ali Gedi how his children are coping?

The World Today also spoke to seventeen-year-old Abdi Aziz outside his Mogadishu high school after he'd just been in to ask teachers why school was closed:

Adan Dhere, a resident of Mogadishu, appeals to the international community to resolve the crisis in Somalia...

 World must come here and see what's going on. It is terrible, terrible life.
Adan Dhere, Mogadishu resident.

What do you do when your hospital has to cope with more than 800 wounded, mostly civilians, mostly women and children? Or when patients have to be kept under trees in the hospital grounds? Is there any hope?

The World Today's reporter in Mogadishu, Olad Hassan, has been talking to the director of the Medina hospital which has been inundated with fresh injuries. Dr Sheikhdon Salad Ilmi began by describing how on earth they cope:

It's estimated that at least a quarter of Somalia's population lives in exile and each year, they send hundreds of millions of dollars home.

In recent months, with many in people in southern Somalia homeless or displaced, that money has become even more of a lifeline. Anu Anand reports on the Somalian diaspora in London:

First broadcast 15th May

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