Fresh fighting reported in Mandera

February 26, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 26 – Fresh Fighting has been reported between Somalia\’s Al-Shabaab militants and forces affiliated to the Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TGF) at the Kenyan border town of Mandera.

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, fighting resumed early on Saturday morning with gunshots renting the air for at least three hours.

Kenya Red Cross Society Communications Officer Nelly Muluka said the relief agency would be conducting a humanitarian assessment in Mandera following days of fighting in the region.

"The reports we are getting is that gunshots could be heard as early as 6.20am that lasted until round about 9am. There were also reports of several bombs being hurled in the area," Ms Muluka said.

Ms Muluka said the six Red Cross staff members who were holed up in the offices when the fighting broke, had managed to leave and would assess the situation on the ground.

Hundreds of Somalia refugees are scattered on the Kenyan side, as it is risky to gather in camps.

Reports from the Mandera indicate that schools, government offices and hospitals had been shut for fear of stray bullets that have been hammering the border town.

The situation was made worse when a bomb was hurled at the Mandera district hospital but no one was hurt as it landed on an open field.

According to the Red Cross, there had also been an influx of more refugees into the Kenyan side as they try to escape the heavy fighting.

"There are many people coming in with their cows and camels into the Kenyan side. They are not staying in the refugee camps but gathering in groups of about 20 to 30 people," she said.

The fighting had delayed humanitarian response as refugees who require food and shelter cannot access any relief aid under the prevailing situation.

Some 14 African Union soldiers flown from Mogadishu were still admitted to hospitals in Mombasa where they have been receiving treatment for bullet wounds since Thursday.

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