31 die in Mogadishu clashes

31 die in Mogadishu clashes

Heavy clashes between Somali government troops, backed by African Union (AU) forces, and al-Shabab fighters have left at least 31 people dead and 22 others injured in Mogadishu, PressTV reported.

Sixteen people -- mostly civilians -- lost their lives on Saturday when al-Shabab fighters carried out a bomb attack on a convoy of Burundian soldiers on the Industrial Road in the western suburbs of Mogadishu. Four soldiers were killed in the explosion, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported.

The Burundian troops opened fire on nearby buildings soon after the attack.

In a separate incident, nine people were killed in Mogadishu's Hodon district when clashes broke out between AU forces and al-Shabab militants.

In addition, six civilians were killed and 22 others sustained injuries when they got caught in an exchange of fire between members of the al-Shabab group and AU troops in Mogadishu's southern district of Hararyale.

In a recent report, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said 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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