Every night soldiers on Mogadishu’s front line take incoming fire. At a camp for thousands of famine refugees, two men are arrested wearing suicide vests. On a busy street, an explosion kills three civilians, and in a warehouse a bomb factory is discovered.
Spectral figures emerging from Kenya’s eastern wastelands are the just-living proof of Somalia’s famine. Every day, more than a thousand of them trudge into the sprawling refugee camps that surround the town of Dadaab, wrapped in incongruous colourful robes that billow in the constant wind sweeping across an impossibly hostile landscape of sand, thorn and stone.
Their feet are cracked and bent from days, sometimes weeks, of walking, their emaciated forms appearing on the outskirts of the camps singly or in diminished family groups.
The refugees left their homes to escape death by starvation or at the hands of a vicious Islamist army, but death has followed many of them here.