Ayan, a Somali living in London received the following email from her mother last weekend.
It catalogues the growing destruction and violence unleashed on Somalia by the US-backed Ethiopian forces and their Somali allies:
“We have lived in Mogadishu for 60 years and we have never known fighting on the scale of what we have suffered in the last week.
“The Ethiopian troops have been using tanks and missiles to demolish whole parts of the city which they say are held by Al Qaida supporters.
“But these areas are ones which refused to support the Ethiopian invasion, and do not want the warlords to return.
“There is shelling all the time. It is completely indiscriminate. They are just destroying homes and shops.
“This is a time of great fear.
“Queues of people are fleeing. Some have cars but many are on foot.
“Dad did not like it when the United Islamic Courts ran the city – because they did not want people to watch football and because your brother got in trouble for chewing khat. But now he wants them back.
“We have suffered so many wars. Is it not time for peace?”
lSudan Ali Ahmed, chair of the Elman Human Rights Organisation in Somalia, spoke out against the bloodshed on Monday.
“In the last four days we have registered 381 deaths and 565 people wounded,” he said.
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees noted that, “Some 56,000 people fled Mogadishu in March, with most (47,000) leaving the city since 21 March.”