Even as fighting continues in Somalia, the World Health Organization has warned that the population in Kismayo, the last major town controlled by Al-Qaeda linked Shehab insurgency group, is struggling to cope with a cholera outbreak.
The UN agency "is very much concerned about the increased number of cholera cases, particularly in Kismayo town," it said in a statement, warning that the infectious diarrhoeal disease could kill within hours if untreated.
"One health facility did a rapid test among a sample of 10 patients, and a total of six cases tested positive for cholera," the WHO statement read.
Of the 65 patients treated so far, 40 required "immediate hospitalisation", it added -- and most of the cases were children aged below eight.
Hardline Shebab fighters still control large parts of southern Somalia, but are left with the southern port of Kismayo as the last major town they control, after attacks by AU troops, government forces and Ethiopian soldiers.
Kismayo is blockaded at sea and on land, with main supply routes strangled by encircling forces. Kenyan troops in the AU force have vowed to seize the town by the end of August.