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Thousands Riot in Somalia over Food Prices; 2 People Killed

BY Admin  May 5, 2008 at 1:12 PM EST

Protest over food prices in Mogadishu, Somalia

The price of rice and other food staples has increased around the world due to poor weather in some countries and rising demands. In Africa, the price of food has gone up 50 percent in a matter of weeks, according to the Associated Press.

The protests began when traders refused to accept old 1,000-shilling notes. Angry people in the market then took to the streets, throwing rocks and smashing vehicle windshields and storefront windows. Hundreds of shops and restaurants in Mogadishu closed for fear of looting.

Protester Abdinur Farah said his uncle died when government troops opened fire as they marched in the southern part of the city, the AP reported.

In addition, Dr. Dahir Dhere said a man wounded in the protests died on his way to the capital’s main Medina Hospital, according to the AP.

“The whole city is up in smoke,” protester Hussein Abdikadir told Reuters. “Traders have refused to take old notes. Food prices are high and we have nothing to eat.”

Traders in the hard-hit Bakara Market said the government and unscrupulous businessmen are to blame for the runaway inflation.

“Businessmen blame the government, which does not control the security and circulation of money,” money exchanger Abdirahman Omar told Reuters.

Protests over growing food prices have erupted in other parts of Africa as well, including Senegal and Cameroon.