22 die in battle for Mogadishu

22 die in battle for Mogadishu

Heavy clashes between Somali government troops and al-Shabab fighters have left at least 22 people dead and 37 others wounded in Mogadishu, Press TV reported.

The victims -- mostly civilians -- lost their lives early on Saturday in battles in which government troops backed by African Union peacekeepers gained control of Mogadishu's northern districts, which were previously controlled by al-Shabab fighters. Fierce firefights continued all of Friday night until the crack of dawn on Saturday in the Boondheere, Karaan, and Shibis districts of northern Mogadishu, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported.

In addition, al-Shabab fighters killed four men in Mogadishu under the pretext that they were collecting information for government security forces and African Union peacekeeping troops, known as AMISOM. Al-Shabab has issued a warning that it is planning a "massive war" against African Union troops in Mogadishu.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday that hundreds of civilians have been injured in fighting in Somalia over 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.

Some 4,000 patients with war injuries, among them 1,100 women and children, were taken to Mogadishu's two referral hospitals in 2009.

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.

Most of the displaced live in poor and degrading conditions on makeshift sites in southern and central Somalia, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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