An 8-year-old Somali girl who was shot in the head four years ago during her country's civil war was recovering Saturday, three days after surgeons removed the bullet from her brain.

A bomb squad was present in the hospital during surgery in case the bullet exploded."This is usually a lethal injury," said her surgeon, Dr. Mark E. Anderson. "She was fortunate to survive."

Fartun Mohamed had been playing in her front yard in Mogadishu in 1991 when she was struck by gunfire exchanged by rival factions in Somalia's war. Doctors in Somalia said it was too risky to remove the slug, believed to be fired from a Soviet assault rifle.

Anderson, however, worried that Fartun's condition would worsen if the bullet wasn't removed immediately. She already had lost use of her right arm and right leg.

"Should the child go on a roller-coaster ride or go on a swing or otherwise slip and fall, the shell could further migrate," causing more damage, Anderson told the Orange County Register.

Surgeons at Western Medical Center removed a 1.4-inch slug from her brain on Thursday.