Somali government troops opened fire on Friday on hungry civilians, killing at least seven people, as both groups made a grab for food at a U.N. distribution site in the capital of this famine-stricken country.

Witnesses accused government soldiers of starting the chaos by trying to steal some of the 290 tonnes of dry rations as the aid workers tried to hand them out in the biggest camp in Mogadishu for famine refugees. Then refugees joined in the scramble, prompting some soldiers to open fire, the witnesses said.

“It was carnage. They ruthlessly shot everyone,” said Abdi Awale Nor, who has been living at the camp. “Even dead bodies were left on the ground and other wounded bled to death.”

Thousands of Somali's have flooded into Mogadishu from the drought-stricken south, walking much or all the way and seeing weakened loved ones perish from starvation or complications from malnutrition. The drought and famine in Somalia have killed more than 29,000 children under the age of 5 in the last 90 days in southern Somalia alone, according to U.S. estimates.

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