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Somali city clears bodies after deadly clashes

  • Story Highlights
  • Families bury dead after 3 days of heavy fighting in Somali port of Kismayo
  • Bodies littered the streets for two days after the clashes
  • Doctor tells CNN planes continuing to fly over the city on Saturday
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(CNN) -- Families were beginning to bury their dead Saturday after three days of heavy fighting in the Somali port town of Kismayo left at least 89 people dead and 207 wounded, according to residents and human rights organizations.

A young fighter mans a gun on the beach of Kismayo. The photographer asked not be identified.

Bodies littered the streets for two days after the clashes, despite the Islamic tradition of burying bodies within 24 hours of death, said Ali Bashi Abdullahi Igal, head of the Fanole Human Rights Organization, who is in Kismayo.

Relatives and human rights workers, afraid to venture out because of ongoing fighting, did not retrieve the bodies until Saturday.

Only one doctor, surgeon Hassan Ahmed, remained in Kismayo to treat the wounded at Kismayo Hospital. He told CNN planes were continuing to fly over the city on Saturday, and residents were fearful the government might drop bombs in order to stop Islamist militants from taking further action.

Among his patients were a man and a woman -- both comatose after being shot in their heads, Ahmed said. He said he has advised their families to take them out of the country for treatment, since no hospital in Somalia has the facilities to deal with such serious wounds.

Igal said Friday that, with only one doctor and two nurses at Kismayo Hospital, the city's only operational one, patients were "suffering at the hospital."

Fighters from the Islamic group Al Shabab took control of Kismayo on Friday after three days of clashes. Igal said the fighting displaced some 5,500 people, triggering a humanitarian crisis.

During Friday's final day of fighting, 15 civilians were killed, he said. They included a mother and two children, ages 3 and 5, who were crushed when their house collapsed under heavy anti-aircraft fire.

"We are condemning this inhumane acts of violence," Igal said. "Both sides have breached the international laws."

Halimo Mohamed Hassan, a mother in Kismayo's Alaney neighborhood, said Friday was the worst day of fighting, with "both sides using a lot of heavy guns including anti-aircraft guns. My children and I took cover under our beds and we stayed for three hours, 'til the situation subsided."

Hassan said heavily armed Islamist militias remained on the streets.

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