Charity Home > SOS News > Somalia Update: Missiles hit SOS Hospital in Mogadishu

Somalia Update: Missiles hit SOS Hospital in Mogadishu


In another day of heavy fighting in the Somali capital, the SOS Hospital in Mogadishu was hit by four missiles, one of which destroyed a ward where people wounded during the current intensified fighting were recovering. In more stable times, the hospital provides maternity and paediatric care to the local community and the ward that was hit is one of five in the paediatric area.

According to Ahmed Ibrahim, National Director of SOS Children's Villages in Somalia, there were up to 20 people in the ward. It is not known how many died as a result of the missile strike.

The missiles struck at around 10.00am on Wednesday, just as fighting resumed after a quiet night. It is presumed that the missiles came from government forces that are pursuing the Islamic fighters across Mogadishu, although there is no suggestion that the hospital was a deliberate target.

This morning, the Ethiopian-backed government forces are less than one kilometre from the SOS Hospital, which is located directly opposite the SOS Children's Village. "Those who can run have done so", said Ibrahim, "and others more seriously wounded have been evacuated from the hospital by their friends and relatives." Only a skeleton staff of volunteer doctors and medical personnel remain, carrying out surgery in what was, in better times, the maternity wing.

The SOS Children's Village meanwhile, has been hit several times by missiles, most recently on Wednesday, when a shell landed on the football pitch. The children, mothers and other co-workers have already been moved to a safe place and fortunately no-one in the village has been injured.

The SOS Children's Village opened in Mogadishu in 1985 and the hospital, used for maternity, paediatric and other humanitarian services, has been in operation since 1989. Throughout the 1991 fighting and the civil war, the hospital remained untouched by shelling. In 2003 a nursing school was opened at the hospital and the first intake of students has since graduated.

"The fact that the hospital is now almost empty may be good news for SOS Children's Villages in that government and Ethiopian forces may not see it as a target," says Ibrahim, "but anything can still happen - the situation is unpredictable." Wilhelm Huber, SOS Children’s Regional Director, added: "The situation is critical and is now out of our hands. The guards who remain are on high alert."

Relevant Countries: Somalia.

Schools Wikipedia Return to Schools Wikipedia Home page