Relief SCENE:Refugees
People Fleeing in Fear of Fighting
Lower Juba Residents Ignoring Al-Shabaab Directives to Run
By AHMED HASSA KHAYRE 11/25/2011
People are fleeing parts areas near Badhaadhe district, Lower Juba Region, in expectation of air strikes and ground battles, internally displaced persons said Friday.

Sheikh Abukir Ali Aden, the Chairman administration of al-Shabaab in Lower and Middle Juba, has called on residents not to flee and take up arms to help defend against the advance of Kenyan and pro-government forces, but fear of being caught up in the crossfire has over-ridden the fear of the insurgent group.

However, al-Shabaab is attempting to turn back as many people as it can.

“I have been living here three and a half years ... I decided yesterday to remove my family back to our own village in Huriwa district, but al-Shabaab stopped us at a checkpoint in Badhaadhe,” IDP Sharif Hussein told Somalia Report. “More families were there, and they let us continue because some of the crowd were related to the al-Shabaab members controlling the checkpoint.” Mahamoud Seyid a resident in Jamaame town in Lower Juba Region who is also on the move, confirmed large groups of people were heading for safer ground.

“The people are running away and expecting ground fighting ... you can’t take all your possession because you have to flee quickly,” he told Somalia Report.

Al-Shabaab training camps and bases have been pounded by Kenyan jets and missiles from unknown sources, many of which suspect are either from US drones or launched from war ships off the Somali coast.