NAIROBI, – Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamud, a 29-year-old widower, fled his home in 2010 in the Karan District of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and arrived in Dadaab refugee camp, eastern Kenya. He is the sole survivor from a family of nine. He spoke to IRIN about how he lost his family and his current situation.
“One night in 2008, during intense fighting between government forces and insurgents in my home area [north Mogadishu], a shell landed on our home.
“When I woke up in hospital, my five sisters, one brother, my parents and my newly-wed wife were dead. I was the only survivor. I had shrapnel in most of my body.
“It took me months to recover from my injuries and when I came back to our neighborhood many people had left. Our house was almost destroyed. I stayed with relatives and tried to go back to the market to make a living.
“Being a religious person, I felt I had to try and live my life but it was hard. One day, I have a family, a wife, parents, a brother, and sisters, and the next day they are all gone and I am all alone.
“My family was buried while I was in the hospital, so I had to go to the cemetery to visit them, but even that was difficult because of the fighting.
“Finally, in November 2010, I decided I could not take it any more. I left Mogadishu and came to this camp in Kenya. The doctors in Somalia could not remove all the shrapnel from my body, so I thought maybe the doctors here will be able to.
“But the main reason I left was not drought or anything else but fear. I did not want to end up like my family.
“When I arrived in Dadaab, I joined hundreds of thousands of other Somalis. I was surprised how crowded the place was. Since I had no relatives, I stayed with a family from Mogadishu who had heard of what happened to me.
“Up to now, I have had no help with my injuries and I still have no shelter of my own.
“There are too many of us and almost everyone is in a desperate situation, so who do you help first? One thing is that I don’t have to worry about shells landing on me or the noise they make. However bad my situation is here, I don’t have to worry about hearing guns.
“I hope to return to Mogadishu and get married again. I am hearing that slowly, peace may be returning to Mogadishu. If that happens, I would like to return.”