World Health Organization: 71 killed, 300 wounded in clashes over control of Somali port city

The World Health Organization says at least 71 people have been killed and more than 300 wounded in ongoing fighting between rival militias in the Somali city of Kismayo.

WHO said in a statement Thursday that fighting in the southern port city has displaced many and "continues to have a profound impact on civilians and humanitarian aid work" in the region.

Many of the victims suffered fractures, head and chest injuries. Nearly 40 patients had to be operated on, according to WHO.

Kismayo is currently the scene of intense, sporadic battles as rival militias fight for control of the strategic city. Somalia's central government accuses Kenyan troops in Kismayo of backing one militia against others and wants the African Union to deploy a neutral force there. Kenya denies the charges.