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Renewed fighting in Mogadishu


Fierce fighting in the Somali capital Mogadishu again erupted this week, when insurgents and Ethiopian backed government troops clashed again.

The fighting followed one of the bloodiest days in Mogadishu since the government and its Ethiopian allies took over the city from the Islamic Courts. Masked men dragged the corpses of two soldiers through the streets of the capital and set their bodies on fire during fierce battles. These masked men, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons were later seen in areas such as Pasta Factory, the livestock market and Ramadan neighborhood, all close to the village. The area used to be a stronghold for the Islamic Courts movement that ruled Mogadishu and its environs for the last half of 2006, until the government and Ethiopian soldiers took the capital just before the New Year.

Children and adults had to be evacuated from SOS Children's Village Mogadishu

Although the heaviest exchanges took place around the former department of defence headquarters, another gun battle later broke out in the northern Ramadan neighborhood and livestock market - an area close to a number of SOS Children projects. Four dead were reported and hundreds of residents, mainly women and children were seen fleeing the fighting.

Ahmed Ibrahim, Project Director, reported that due to the proximity of the fighting, services provided by SOS Children to the Mogadishu community have been affected. Stray bullets hit parts of the village but no serious damage has been reported and no one was injured. As a precautionary measure, the children are being kept inside. Patients fled the hospital and medical staff was unable to report for duty due to insecurity and lack of public transport. The fighting has also prevented parents bringing their children to the SOS Nursery which was forced to close temporarily. Like other Mogadishu residents, added Mr Ibrahim, the children, mothers and other co-workers are frightened and demoralized as they see people fleeing their houses, and closing businesses and educational institutions in the area.

Despite the fighting, the SOS Children's Village as well as the nursery, school and hospital will continue to function as well as they can under the circumstances. Should the heavy fighting continue the SOS Hospital, which has surgical facilities, is on standby to treat any casualties.

Relevant Countries: Somalia.

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