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7 Killed in Looting at Somalia Aid Camp

Displaced people carry their belongings as they flee from Badbaado settlement after two groups of Somalia government soldiers clashed inside the camp in the capital Mogadishu, August 5, 2011

Seven people were killed and at least five others injured Friday in a raid on food-delivery trucks at a refugee camp in Somalia. It is not clear who was responsible, but some witnesses said looters wore the uniforms used by government soldiers.

A spokesperson for the Somali government says the attack took place Friday when looters launched an assault on trucks delivering food to the Badbaada refugee camp in the capital.

“We hope that soon we will identify and find those who are responsible, but such incidents unfortunately destroy the image of our city, the image of our government and the image of the Somali people,” said Spokesman Omar Osman,

Some witnesses said soldiers took part in the attack, but the government denied those reports.

The Badbaada camp was only established last month as tens of thousands of Somalis poured into the capital to seek refuge from drought and hunger. Already, the government says, more than 30,000 people are living there.

The United Nations has declared a famine exists in five parts of Somalia, including among the displaced people living in Mogadishu.

Omar Osman says Friday's incident should not deter aid agencies from working in the camps. "We are at a time of crisis, a famine, where we need more food aid coming to the country. We don't want these isolated incidents to have an effect or impact on the future food aid distribution,” he said.

Osman said Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali visited the camp Friday and promised to form a committee to investigate the incident. He also announced he would form a new team of government soldiers to better guard refugees and aid workers.

The famine is expected to continue spreading throughout southern Somalia and to last until at least December. The United Nations says more than 3 million people - many of them children - are in need of immediate life-saving assistance in Somalia.