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Page last updated at 09:40 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 10:40 UK

'Rebels' threaten Somali hospital

Patients in Medina hospital, file image
Medina hospital is vital to Mogadishu's war-torn population

The main hospital in Somalia's capital Mogadishu has received a warning not to accept aid from foreign charities.

Leaflets were scattered near the Medina hospital emblazoned with guns and grenades threatening staff, patients and aid groups including the Red Cross.

No-one has claimed responsibility, but a BBC reporter in Mogadishu says the pamphlets are typical of those distributed by Islamist insurgents.

Somalia is wracked by conflict between rebels and the weak government.

The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says the leaflets accuse doctors of giving treatment to "apostate soldiers" - believed to mean government troops.

FROM BBC WORLD SERVICE

He says the pamphlets refer to the hospital as a military site.

Medina Hospital director Dr Muhammad Yusuf said staff were disappointed by the leaflets, but the warnings would not deter them from carrying out their duties.

An official from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the organisation was aware of the threat and was taking steps to ensure the work of the hospital was not affected.

Somalia last had a functioning central government in 1991.

Since then numerous armed groups have been fighting for control of the country.

Islamist groups dominate much of southern and central Somalia, while the UN-backed government only runs parts of the capital.



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