Many dead in Somali clashes

At least 17 people killed in fighting between government forces and rebels.

    The Red Cross has criticised the repeated
    shelling of a Mogadishu hospital [Reuters]

    The fighting between Somali troops and anti-government fighters killed six civilians earlier in the day, Muse said.

    Twenty-one civilians were wounded in the earlier fighting.

    Hospital shelling

    The Red Cross on Thursday expressed shock at the repeated shelling of a hospital in Mogadishu that killed at least one patient in the past three days.


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    "We are shocked about the situation at Keysaney [hospital]," Pascal Mauchle, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Somalia, said in a statement.

    "The situation is becoming more and more dangerous for patients and medical staff by the day."

    A first shell on Tuesday left one patient dead and another wounded.

    According to the ICRC two more mortar shells hit the hospital on Thursday, damaging the building.

    Somalia's fragile, UN-backed government, established in 2004, has been battling Islamist fighters who control much of the country's south and centre.

    Independence anniversary

    The government controls only a few blocks of Mogadishu and relies on African Union peacekeeping troops to protects key government officials and installations.

    Somalia has not had a functioning government in nearly 20 years.

    Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, urged Somalis to seek unity in their divided country, which marked its 50th independence anniversary on Thursday.

    Somalia gained independence from Italy in 1960 and merged with Somaliland, a British protectorate that proclaimed independence five days earlier.

    Somalia has been mired in civil war since 1991.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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