Alexa

Somali capital casualties highest in decade

Somali capital casualties highest in decade

The near-daily violence in Somalia's capital last year wounded the highest number of people in a decade including nearly 2,300 women and children, an international Red Cross spokeswoman said Friday.
More than 6,000 patients were treated at Keysaney and Medina hospitals last year, compared to the 2,800 admitted in 2008, said the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross, which supplies the hospitals with medicine and pays staff salaries.
The international humanitarian group, one of the few operating in Somalia, said it was hard to get reliable death figures from the capital. The only ambulance service in Mogadishu has said that more than 2,100 civilians died in warfare last year.
A U.S. group that works to prevent civilian deaths says Somalia is more dangerous for civilians than Afghanistan or Iraq.
ICRC spokeswoman Nicole Engelbrecht said the number of people wounded last year is the highest since 2000, when record-keeping began.
"Severely wounded people arrive at all hours, even in the middle of the night," said Pascal Mauchle, the head of the ICRC's Somalia delegation. "We are especially concerned about the large number of civilians, including women and children, suffering from weapon-related injuries."
Aid groups and Mogadishu residents have repeatedly decried the combatants' indiscriminate shelling of populated areas of the seaside city. Mogadishu suffers frequent barrages of mortars, rockets and artillery shells exchanged between Islamist insurgents and pro-government forces who protect the sliver of land controlled by the fragile government.
The ICRC has urged the parties to the conflict to avoid civilian casualties.
"The warring parties must distinguish at all times between civilians and fighters. They must not employ indiscriminate means and methods of warfare. Medical staff, hospitals and clinics must be respected and protected in all circumstances," said the ICRC, noting that nearly 2,300 women and children were caught in the cross fire last year.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since clan-based warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other, sinking the Horn of Africa nation into chaos.


Updated : 2020-12-04 23:22 GMT+08:00