August 9 2007
Tension around SOS Children's Village Mogadishu
09/08/2007 - There is high tension at the SOS Children's Village Mogadishu after a night of fighting nearby. Yesterday Somali government troops set up camp 300 metres from the project in their search for insurgents who are said to be hiding in the area.
After moving in, the troops closed off all roads leading to the SOS Children's Village and the SOS Hospital, which is a maternity hospital and paediatric unit, free of charge to the women and children of the community. They also disarmed all SOS security personnel. The hospital continues to function, caring for the patients who are already there, but no new patients can enter.
Last night a gun battle ensued between government troops and insurgents near to the project. No-one in either the village or the hospital has been hurt and the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School and the kindergarten are both closed for holidays. Ahmed Ibrahim, director of SOS Children's Villages Somalia, said that authorities in Mogadishu have advised that this is a limited military operation around the project. He added that there are no immediate plans to evacuate the village, although all options are open.
Last night's fighting is the first near the SOS Children's Village compound since heavy fighting closed the project for a week in late April. Since then the hospital, school, kindergarten and village have been operating normally.