Mogadishu rocked by food demonstrations

Monday 05 May 2008 11:08 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Thousands of Somalis protested in Mogadishu's streets today, angry at food traders refusing to take old currency notes that have been blamed for spiralling inflation, witnesses said.

"The whole city is up in smoke," protestor Hussein Abdikadir told Reuters while rolling a tyre he said he was planning to burn in the Buulahubey neighbourhood of southern Mogadishu. "Traders have refused to take old notes. Food prices are high and we have nothing to eat. We will protest until the traders agree to take the notes and sell us food," he said.

The Somali shilling is valued at roughly 34,000 to the dollar - more than double what it was a year ago - and many blame counterfeiters who mint the notes for the fall in value.

That has been doubly compounded by sharply rising world food prices, leaving many in the largely lawless African nation of 10 million short of money to buy food, prompting several protests or riots in the past six months.

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