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UN to Investigate Human Rights Abuses in Somalia


A top United Nations envoy says the world body will investigate human rights violations committed during recent fighting in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

U.N. humanitarian coordinator John Holmes says the Somali government has agreed to the probe, which will look into abuses committed during fighting between allied Somali-Ethiopian forces and Islamic rebels.

Mr. Holmes, who spoke to reporters Monday in Kenya, says human rights abuses had clearly taken place, but that the Somali government has denied any involvement. He added that Somali officials, however, have agreed to allow a visit by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour.

More than 1,300 civilians were killed during the battles between Somali-Ethiopian forces and insurgents. The U.N. says the violence triggered one of the world's worst displacement crises.

Mr. Holmes also says humanitarian aid is only reaching between 35 and 40 percent of those in need.

On Saturday, he urged Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf to dismantle checkpoints in the capital to allow food and other supplies to reach people as quickly as possible.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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