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Aid Workers Raise Alarm over Violence in Somalia

  • Raymond Thibodeaux

Aid workers are reporting a resurgence of violence across lawless Somalia, which has not had a functioning government for 14 years. In one town in central Somalia, aid workers say, they have treated hundreds of people with serious injuries, mostly gunshot wounds.

The small town of Galkayo in central Somalia has two hospitals, where aid workers have treated more than 500 injured patients, half of them for gunshot wounds and another 130 for stab wounds.

This level of violence in Somalia is consistent with a country at war, says Colin McIlreavy, head of Doctors Without Borders in Somalia.

"There are a lot of things, which do function in Somalia," he said. "We are seeing a growth in the business sector. But it's still a place with horrific levels of violence on par with what you might encounter with a civil war situation."

"The frightening fact is that Somalia is officially not even at war," added Mr. McIlreavy, who is in Nairobi to sound the alarm about Somalia's escalating violence.

The violence appears to be affecting women and children the most.

Doctors without Borders says child mortality rates in Somalia are among the world's worst. More than 10 percent of children die at birth, and one child out of every four dies before age five.