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Central Somalia gripped by fresh violence

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- An outbreak of violence in central Somalia has forced an estimated 50,000 people from their homes since the end of December.

The fresh violence since Dec. 27, which has resulted in the deaths of as many as 40 civilians in Somalia's Galgaduud region in the center of the country, has made the fragile security situation for the local population and humanitarian aid workers a serious concern, the United Nations reported.

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Mark Bowden, U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator, has called for an immediate halt in the violence in order to deliver much needed aid to an estimated 130,000 internally displaced people in the Galgaduud region.

"I am extremely alarmed by the fighting that has taken place in central Somalia during the past week," Bowden said in a statement.

"I strongly condemn the unacceptable number of casualties and massive displacement of civilians who continue to bear the brunt of conflict and insecurity in the country."

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