April 22 2008

Recent battles in Mogadishu also affect SOS Children's Village

21/04/2008 - SOS staff were injured in last weekend's clashes in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Photo: SOS Archives
The SOS families have been evacuated since the end of 2007 - Photo: SOS Archives

Battles between the Ethiopian military forces, who have been supporting the Somali government since 2006, and Islamist-led fighters in Mogadishu left dozens of people dead and more then hundred civilians wounded. The local SOS Children's Villages facilities were under attack as well.

Three SOS co-workers, one nurse and two security staff, have been injured and were admitted to the SOS Hospital. However, they will be released again today.

Although Monday morning the situation seemed to be calm sporadic shooting could still be heard. Damages were reported to the SOS Children's Villages facilities and the SOS site is still not accessible. Neither patients nor staff can go there. The full extent of the damages is not known, but the SOS nursing school administration block was hit and the SOS nursing school library as well. The library burnt and some books could be saved as some co-workers risked going inside the building.

Photo: Hilary Atkins
The SOS Hospital is frequented by thousands of patients all year round - Photo: H. Atkins

This comes after the President of SOS Children's Villages, Helmut Kutin, had just given moral support when making a surprise visit to Mogadishu at the end of March where he spent a day with the still evacuated children and their SOS mothers. Due to the difficult political situation they could only meet up in a hotel and not at their temporary homes as this could have been a danger to the families.

Due to the recurring battles in recent months the children and their SOS mothers were evacuated from the SOS Children's Village, which is situated in the northern part of the city which is now a dangerous battle zone, and are now staying in temporary homes. The children are going to school which has been set up momentarily. The SOS Hospital, which due to the current difficult situation had been temporary closed, was re-opened again only in March.