When bullets tore through the streets of Kismayo

African Press International (API)

Still tense… African Union troops captured Kismayo from Islamist insurgents in September 2012 (file photo)

KISMAYO/NAIROBI,  – When bullets tore through the streets of Kismayo in June, leaving over 70 dead as rival militias twice fought for control of the Somali port city, many international aid agencies halted a cautious scale-up of activities.

One of the few to stay was the World Health Organization (WHO).

“For us, conflict means casualties. We are doctors; we have to be there,” Omar Saleh, WHO Somalia’s emergency health coordinator, told IRIN.

But for most international organizations – many of which had just returned to Kismayo after militant Islamists Al-Shabab were driven out late last year – the June violence proved too dangerous.

As stability returned through July, activities slowly resumed. Still, the political and security crises that fuelled the fighting are at risk of deepening.

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