Residents set to flee Somali capital | india | Hindustan Times
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Residents set to flee Somali capital

Hundreds of Somalis are preparing to flee their capital, a day after it suffered some of the fiercest battles in 14 years.

india Updated: May 27, 2006 11:07 IST

Hundreds of Somalis packed mattresses and food into minivans and trucks, preparing to flee their capital a day after it suffered some of the fiercest battles in 14 years.

Though Friday was relatively calm, more fighting was expected. Fighters loyal to an Islamic militia and their secular rivals manoeuvred heavily armed trucks around city streets and reinforced their positions.

Doctors reached by telephone in the city's hospitals and clinics, increased the death toll from Thursday's fighting to 60 and more than 150 people wounded across Mogadishu, said Dr Abdi Ibrahim Jiya of the Somali Doctors Association.

In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Somali Red Crescent Society called for the warring parties to show restraint and safeguard the lives and dignity of the wounded, prisoners and civilians.

The two organisations said in a statement on Friday that there have been more than 300 deaths in Mogadishu since fighting first erupted on February 18 and 1,500 wounded have been treated in hospitals.

Militiamen from the Islamic Courts Union, which wants Somalia to be ruled by Quranic law, made a rare foray on Thursday into southern and eastern parts of the capital and captured a strategic road junction in the center of the city, known as K4.

They also seized the historic Sahafi Hotel, which is owned by a member of the secular alliance known as the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-terrorism.