Doctors at one of the main hospitals in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, say they have been swamped with patients injured in an upsurge of fighting.

Medics say some of the casualties are being admitted with horrific injuries.

At Medina Hospital, tents have been set up in the corridors and mattresses laid under trees outside for the victims.

It comes as a radical cleric on the US terror list, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, formally became leader of the Somali Islamist rebel group Hisbul-Islam.

The militia, and an allied hardline group, al-Shabab, have been locked in fierce battles with pro-government forces that have displaced more than 60,000 civilians since 7 May.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which funds and runs two of Mogadishu’s three hospitals, Medina and Keysaney, told the BBC more than 650 patients have sought treatment since the clashes began and that many more were trapped in conflict zones.

“ We are very stretched but at the moment no-one is being turned away ”
ICRC’s Pedram Yazdiof

It said a number of patients had bullet and shrapnel wounds as well as blast injuries from shells landing on their homes.

“We are very stretched but at the moment no-one is being turned away and we can cope with the pressure,” said Pedram Yazdiof, of the ICRC in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

He said fighting in the southern Medina district of the city over the past two days had made it difficult for some staff to get to the hospital.

The BBC’s Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says the capital was relatively quiet on Wednesday after two weeks of almost continual fighting.

Meanwhile, the outgoing head of rebel group Hisbul-Islam, Omar Abubakar, said he had not come under any pressure to hand over the leadership to Mr Aweys.



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