35 die in battle for Mogadishu
Sat, 04 Dec 2010 21:17:23 GMT
At least 35 people have been killed and many others injured when heavy clashes broke out between African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops and al-Shabab fighters.
The fighting took place in Mogadishu on Thursday after African Union troops blocked Industry Road, which connects various quarters in the Somali capital. Twenty civilians lost their lives and at least eight al-Shabab members were also killed, Radio Garowe reported late on Friday.
Several others were killed as intense violence continued in Mogadishu's Bondhere, Shibis, Hodan, and Daynile districts, according to witnesses and medical workers.
"The operations to extend our area of control have been successful," AMISOM spokesman Major Barigye Bahoku said.
Somali ambulance workers transported 17 wounded civilians to local hospitals for treatment, according to the head of Mogadishu's ambulance service, Ali Muse.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has reported that hundreds of civilians were injured in fighting in Somalia in recent months.
The Geneva-based humanitarian institution said that a total of 5,000 patients with war injuries, including 1,900 women and children, were admitted to Mogadishu's Keysaney and Medina hospitals from January through September.
Compared to last year, it is an increase of 25 percent in the total number of war casualties and 72 percent in the number of war-wounded women and children admitted to the hospitals.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
Over the past two decades, up to one million people have lost their lives in fighting between rival factions and due to famine and disease.
There are more than 1.4 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Somalia. Over 300,000 of the IDPs are sheltered in Mogadishu.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that most of the displaced live in poor and degrading conditions on makeshift sites in southern and central Somalia.