As the world marks International Children’s Day, kids in war-torn Somalia have little to celebrate. Eighteen years of chaos and lawlessness have made life difficult and left them with few opportunities.
Schools, hospitals and other essential services have been destroyed by a prolonged civil war. Countless children have lost their lives or been injured in the fighting that began with the government's overthrow in 1991.
Ten-year-old Abdulahi Dahir lives with his family in the conflict's epicenter, Mogadishu. Most of their friends and neighbors have fled.
SOUNDBITE:：“All the people who went to safer places outside Mogadishu but my parents and my brothers and sisters and I have to stay behind. I do not go to school because my parents cannot pay the fees. I want to be a teacher when I grow up and help my father and mother when they are old. On the World Children’s Day I want to wish peace and prosperity for my country”
Because of the war, Mohammed and his brothers can only play in the small yard of his home.
Medical officials in Mogadishu say many Somalian children suffer from severe malnutrition. Few have received vaccinations due to the fact families are always on the run, away from the violence.
(Xinhua News Agency June 2, 2009)