October 18 2011

A disabled youth is rescued from the firing line in Mogadishu

18/10/2011 - A daring rescue by SOS Children's Villages staff saved the life of Ayanle Abdi Mohamed (29), a mentally disabled youth who was feared dead when his home - the local SOS Children's Village - became the front line in a weeklong battle between government troops and al-Shabab militants.

"The family is complete at last," cried a tearful Osman Shukri, the director of the SOS Children's Village in Mogadishu - on embracing the village's most popular son who arrived home after a five-day ordeal. Ayanle was trapped for five days in Somalia's most controversial battle zone: the SOS Children's Village and SOS Hospital.

The village resident who has the mental age of an eight-year-old went missing after the hospital was evacuated without notice on Sunday, 9 October. It was feared that he was a victim of the crossfire that ensued. Sparing no effort to find him, SOS security staff risked sniper-fire as they entered the compound on 14 October where they were warmly embraced by the hungry village resident. Ayanle, who was immediately seen by SOS doctors, has since returned to his overjoyed family, who resides in a safe environment 13km away.

The body of the former SOS employee Ali Shabiye has been recovered from the hospital grounds, where he died following a mortar attack on 10 October. The recovery was made possible following negotiations with military personnel in the area.

Positive dialogue has now commenced between AMISOM/TFG* forces and SOS staff who have been assured that the SOS Children's Village compound is under their protection and is not being used by troops. Meanwhile, some SOS Hospital medical staff have been deployed to assist their colleagues at the SOS Medical Centre in the Badbado camp where - last month alone - they treated 4,500 internally displaced people in need on lifesaving medical care.

*AMISOM – African Union Mission in Somalia
TFG - Transitional Federal Government