Somali shells miss target, kills 9 patients in Mogadishu hospital
Shells fired towards Mogadishu's port killed at least 9 disabled people in the mortar attacks by armed opposition groups, witnesses said.
Shells fired towards Mogadishu's port killed at least 9 disabled people and wounded 19 on Friday evening in the mortar attacks by armed opposition groups, witnesses and rights activist said on Saturday.
Residents said the mortars shells missed their target and landed on Martini, a former hospital that houses members of Somali forces disabled during a war with Ethiopia in 1977.
The Martini war veterans building lies between the presidential palace and Mogadishu's port, in the small part of Somalia's capital controlled by the government and African Union peacekeeping troops.
"Mortar shells killed 9 disabled persons and seriously injured 19 others," Yasin Ali Sheikh, vice chairman of Elman peace and human rights group, told Reuters.
"Transportation of the victims was delayed: gunmen killed two ambulance service drivers," he said. "We urge the government and opposition to allow an investigation by independent military experts so that those behind the attack can be taken to court."
Violence has killed more than 18,000 Somalis since the start of 2007 and displaced another 1.5 million. Hardline insurgents who want to impose their own harsh version of sharia law have been battling the country's Western-backed governments.
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's government controls just parts of the coastal capital and central region. Most of the south is run by fighters, including the al Shabaab group.
On Thursday, the local Elman rights group said the behaviour of Shabaab during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was unacceptable.
They have launched attacks while civilians were breaking their daily fast with an evening meal and fired mortar barrages from hiding places in residential neighborhoods, it said.
Abdifatah Shaweye Mogadishu's deputy mayor told Reuters opposition groups were behind the attack. "The mortar shells were targeted at the sea port and every one understands where they were fired from."
Reuters Last Mod: 12 Eylül 2009, 15:13