Skip to main content

At least 75 killed in fighting in Somali capital

Somalis help a civilian injured Friday during heavy clashes between Somali government troops and insurgent forces.
Somalis help a civilian injured Friday during heavy clashes between Somali government troops and insurgent forces.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Government forces, Al-Shabaab rebels fighting in Mogadishu
  • At least 170 people, including 21 children, admitted to the hospital, medical director says
  • U.S. considers Al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda proxy in the country, a terrorist organization

(CNN) -- At least 75 people have been killed in clashes in the Somali capital of Mogadishu since fighting broke out earlier this week between government forces and Al-Shabaab rebels, medical sources and a witness said Saturday.

At least 30 people died on Wednesday, and another 35 died on Thursday, the city's ambulance service said. Another five died of their wounds while hospitalized, according to Duniyo Ali Mohamed, medical director of Mogadishu's Medina Hospital.

A local journalist whose identity is not being disclosed for security reasons said he saw five other bodies in the capital.

Mohamed said at least 170 people, including 21 children, were admitted to the hospital with injuries from the fighting between government forces and the rebels. Ninety-six remain hospitalized.

Mohamed said two children lost their mothers; one of the children was only 3 months old.

A spokesman with the Mogadishu ambulance service told CNN that the service has picked up 148 wounded people since Wednesday, when the fighting began. He said he was particularly affected by the death of two children -- brothers who succumbed to their wounds when they arrived at the hospital. It was not immediately clear whether the two were included in the five dead from Medina Hospital.

Video: Families flee shelling
RELATED TOPICS
  • Al-Shabaab
  • Mogadishu
  • Somalia

"There is widespread hopelessness and despair in the city," said the ambulance spokesman, who is not being identified for security reason. He said the last remaining residents in the battle area are fleeing for their lives.

Much of the fighting Thursday occurred north of Mogadishu, where a majority of militants allied with Al-Shabaab are believed to be in control, authorities said. The state defense minister claimed victory in Wednesday's fighting and said Al-Shabaab suffered heavy loses.

The United States considers Al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda proxy in the country, a terrorist organization.

The group is waging a war against Somalia's government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or sharia.

Somalia has not had a stable government since 1991, and fighting between the rebels and government troops has escalated the humanitarian crisis in the famine-ravaged country.

Journalist Mohamed Amiin Adow and Ben Brumfield contributed to this report.