Somalian Refugees Shot During Food Distribution

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Government soldiers in Somalia shot and killed seven people Friday during a food distribution after the crowd apparently broke out into a looting rampage, several refugees reported.

"It was carnage. They ruthlessly shot everyone," refugee Abdi Awale Nor, told The Associated Press. "Even dead bodies were left on the ground and other wounded bled to death."
    
Tens of thousands are fleeing the East African nation, one of several in the Horn of Africa experiencing one of the worst droughts in 60 years.

Famine's Smallest Victims

Aid groups estimate 11 million people need food, with children being among the hardest hit.

One woman sat beside a small mound of earth where her child was buried -- and there are three other graves just like it.
    
Three weeks ago she was the mother of five small children. Now only a daughter remains.

"Death is inevitable," she said. "But the surprise was how suddenly I lost my four children in less than 24 hours."

The children died while making the journey to Mogadishu, the city where humanitarian organizations are providing food and setting up refugee camps.
 
Delivering aid supplies has proved to be a major challenge in what has become a lawless environment.

African Union soldiers have had to fight against al Qaeda's Somalia branch, al Shabab, who've been getting in the way of the much needed aid.

"It is particularly tragic that during the holy month of Ramadan al Shabab are preventing assistance to the most vulnerable populations in Somalia, namely children, including infants, and girls and women who are attempting to bring themselves and those children to safety," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters at a State Department news conference with visiting Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.
    
 "I call on al Shabab to allow assistance to be delivered in an absolutely unfettered way throughout the area that they currently control, so that as many lives as possible can be saved," she said.
 
Kenya Famine

Meanwhile, the U.S. says the famine in Africa is worsening.

An estimated 29,000 Somali children five years old and under have died in just the last three months.
   
Switerzerland's President Micheline Calmy-Rey is in Kenya getting a first-hand look at the drought.
 
"It is not enough, and the international community has to do more in order to save the lives of these people," the Swiss leader said.
    
Clinton and second lady Jill Biden are scheduled to visit Kenya this weekend. They're on a mission to learn what more America can do to answer East Africa's cry for help.

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