ICRC sends aid for casualties in Somalia fighting

Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:59pm GMT

By Yara Bayoumy

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The International Committee for the Red Cross said on Friday it had sent more than a tonne of medical supplies to southern Somalia, where over 100 people have been wounded in areas where Kenyan troops are fighting entrenched Islamist rebels.

Yves van Loo of ICRC Somalia said the wounded were mainly civilians caught in fighting in the last 10 days in the frontline regions of Afmadow and Dhobley, where air strikes have also taken place in recent weeks.

The ICRC said the fighting made it difficult for the wounded to reach hospitals for treatment.

On December 20, a Kenyan warplane bombed a Somali village held by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels, killing and wounding several people.

Kenya said on Friday its forces had raided an al Shabaab patrol base in Qoqani, about 30 km (19 miles) west of Afmadow, in an attack that killed five rebels and one Kenyan soldier.

Al Shabaab and a Somali government soldier said the rebels had attacked a Kenyan convoy on Thursday.

There has been little ground combat since Kenyan forces crossed into Somalia more than two months ago to crush the militants, whom Nairobi blames for a spate of kidnappings and cross-border attacks.

"More than 100 wounded people, mainly civilians, reached the medical facilities during the most recent phase of fighting," Randi Jensen, an ICRC nurse, said in a statement.   Continued...

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