Somalia needs more help-U.N. aid chief

(Adds PM quotes, changes dateline)

BAIDOA, Somalia, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The United Nations' top aid official called on Monday for more aid for Somalia where the world body says one million people have been forced to flee their homes in Africa's worst humanitarian crisis.

John Holmes, on a visit to the Horn of Africa country, later met with new Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein in the central city of Baidoa after visiting several camps of war-displaced residents of the capital Mogadishu.

They agreed to enhance cooperation in order to ease what has become a major humanitarian disaster in Somalia as a result of a bloody insurgency against Hussein's fledgling government and their Ethiopian allies.

Fighting in Mogadishu on Monday killed five people and three government soldiers were slain in a dispute with local militias over pay in Jowhar, 90 km (56 miles) north, witnesses said.

Efforts to supply food to the needy are impeded by rampant piracy and closed borders. Almost 6,000 civilians have been killed in fighting this year.

"We are doing our best to help them both in humanitarian terms and also to try and press for a political solution which can really bring lasting prosperity and stability," Holmes said.

Hussein said his government is committed to improving the situation and bringing back law and order in a country deprived of central rule since the 1991 ouster of a dictator.

"We recognise the current crisis and we are ready to address it," Hussein said. "Reconciliation, security and provision of humanitarian aid are very much interlinked so we recognise this and definitely we will try to address them."

The interim government, struggling to assert its authority in a nation mired in lawlessness since 1991, promised in April to deliver more aid after Holmes complained of restrictions.

The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday it started providing daily meals to at least 21,000 people in Mogadishu last month, and wants to target 50,000.


Human Rights Watch urged the U.N. Security Council on Monday to press Ethiopia and Somalia to stop "grave human rights abuses that are fuelling the worsening humanitarian crisis" in Somalia and in Ethiopia's ethnically Somali Ogaden region.

The group said clashes intensified in November and were marked by increasing brutality towards civilians, including "summary executions and enforced disappearances of individuals by Ethiopian forces". Addis Ababa denies such allegations.

"Key governments are ignoring the rampant human rights abuses in Somalia at their own peril," HRW said.

A contingent of African Union soldiers has failed to stem the violence from a government-led offensive to hunt insurgents behind almost-daily roadside bombings and grenade attacks.

U.N. Security Council members said last month it was vital to keep planning for a possible U.N. peacekeeping mission in Somalia, despite Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's view that such a force is unrealistic at this time.

"What we can do now is plan for a possible mission to Somalia and help the African Union forces in Somalia ... but at the moment it is very hard to even send a fact-finding mission to Mogadishu," Holmes said.

His visit comes a day after Prime Minister Hussein named an "all-inclusive cabinet" and called for talks with Eritrea-based opponents to end an Islamist-led insurgency.

Hussein's appointment last month was seen by many as an opportunity for reconciliation in Somalia, plunged into chaos since 1991.

"Security is the top of our priorities. We said that reconciliation is also one of our top priorities," he said. His government would take a new approach to reconciliation, he said.

"Some of the opposition are blaming the government because of lack of activity. We will try to be active. We are open whether it regards power-sharing or lack of activity. Our main aim is to see our people assisted." (Writing by Katie Nguyen; Editing by Bryson Hull)