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Mogadishu population soars

July 17, 2012 at 2:14 PM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, July 17 (UPI) -- An official in charge of security in Mogadishu said an estimated 1 million people have returned to the Somali capital this year.

Warsame Mohamed Hassan, a deputy mayor in Mogadishu, told the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN that former residents were returning in droves.

"We estimate that about 1 million people have returned to Mogadishu this year," he said.

Al-Shabaab, a militant group allied with al-Qaida, has lost ground in Somalia as the interim administration in Mogadishu gains a foothold in the country. African forces in the country have fought alongside pro-government troops to restore security to the capital.

Hassan said the population in Mogadishu may be close to 3 million people, twice the estimate from July 2011.

Somalia has by members of the international community as an emerging success story. Oxfam, however, warns there's no room for complacency in a country that hasn't had a functioning central government since the 1990s.

"Somalia needs more than a band aid," Oxfam's Somalia Director Senait Gebregziabher said in a statement.

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