Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab and its ally Hizbul Islam have been battling to remove President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who came to power earlier this year as part of a UN-backed peace process.
“Up to 12 disabled former national army officers died in last night’s shelling in residential areas,” government spokesman Sheikh Abdirisak Qelow Darwishta told reporters in Mogadishu.
Islamist insurgents were aiming for the port, but instead hit the Martini Hospital, which houses veterans who lost their limbs during Somalia’s conflict with Ethiopia in the 1970s.
“This is a horrific incident,” Ali Sheikh Yasin, deputy chairman of Elman Peace and Human Rights Organization, told the German Press Agency dpa. “Even those who helped the victims were attacked and two ambulance drivers were killed by unknown gunmen.”
Over 250,000 people have fled renewed fighting in Mogadishu since May, bringing the total number of displaced within the Horn of Africa nation to over 1.5 million, the United Nations said earlier this week.
The renewed fighting, part of an insurgency that kicked off in early 2007 following an Ethiopian invasion, has taken place in largely residential areas of Mogadishu, claiming the lives of hundreds of civilians.
Over 18,000 people have died since the insurgency began and over half of the Somali population are now dependent on food aid due to the conflict and drought.
The Horn of Africa nation has been embroiled in chaos since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. dpa lm ml bve Copyright (c) dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)