The near-daily violence in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, last year wounded the highest number of people in a decade including nearly 2,300 women and children, an international Red Cross spokeswoman said on January 28.

More than 6,000 patients were treated at the Keysaney and Medina hospitals last year, compared to the 2,800 admitted in 2008, said the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which supplies the hospitals with medicine and pays staff salaries.

A U.S. group that works to prevent civilian deaths says Somalia is more dangerous for civilians than Afghanistan or Iraq. ICRC spokeswoman Nicole Engelbrecht said the number of people wounded last year is the highest since 2000, when record-keeping began.

“Severely wounded people arrive at all hours,”said the head of ICRC's Somalia delegation. Aid groups and Mogadishu residents have repeatedly decried the combatants' indiscriminate shelling of populated areas. Mogadishu suffers frequent barrages of mortars, rockets and artillery shells exchanged between Islamist insurgents and pro-government forces who protect the sliver of land controlled by the fragile government. Somalia has not had a functioning government since clan-based warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other, sinking the Horn of Africa nation into chaos.

Keywords: Somali unrest

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