Accessibility links

Somali Group Says Violence Killed Nearly 6,000 This Year

A Somali human rights group says violence in the capital, Mogadishu, has killed nearly 6,000 people this year.

The Elman Peace and Human Rights Organization said Sunday that it has verified 5,930 deaths in the city along with 7,980 people wounded.

There was no immediate comment on the figures from Somali government officials, who have accused Elman of exaggerating casualty totals in the past.

Mogadishu Mayor Mohammed Dheere ordered the shutdown of the group back in October, accusing it of spreading false information about the interim government.

The Associated Press quoted the group's chairman, Sudan Ali Ahmed, as saying Elman's staff collected casualty numbers in secret from Mogadishu hospitals and residents.

The Somali capital has endured nearly daily violence this year between Islamist-led insurgents and Ethiopian troops supporting the government.

The insurgency began in January, soon after government and Ethiopian forces ousted an Islamist movement that controlled the city for several months last year.

In its own recent estimate, the United Nations refugee agency said the fighting has driven some 600,000 Mogadishu residents out of the city. The agency said many are living in desperate conditions near the town of Afgooye to the south.

The U.N. Children's Fund says it will carry out a weeklong immunization campaign for children in the camps beginning Sunday. Children under five are to receive vaccines for measles, polio, diptheria, tetanus, and tuberculosis.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.