Gunbattles in Somali capital kills 15

08:47, March 04, 2010      

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Sporadic fighting that raged since Tuesday between Islamist fighters and Somali government forces backed by African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu has left at least fifteen people, mostly civilians, dead and wounded some 54 others, hospital sources said Wednesday.

The fighting broke out on Tuesday between Islamist insurgent fighters and Somali government forces after the government troops took a number of locations held by the rebels in the south of Mogadishu.

The fighting lasted into the early hours of Wednesday morning as intermittent gunfire could be heard in battles areas in south and north of the Somali capital.

Hospital sources said that almost fifteen people including a four-year-old child were killed by stray shells and bullets in residential areas in Mogadishu.

Local emergency services said that nearly 54 people mainly civilians caught in the crossfire were hospitalized after sustaining injuries of varies severity.

Both the Somali government and Islamist insurgent groups have claimed successes in the latest flare up of violence in the coastal city which has been relatively clam in the past few days.

Islamist insurgent groups, which now control almost the entire south and central Somalia except for a small part of the restive capital Mogadishu, have been mounting deadly attacks against forces of the transitional government and the African Union Mission in Somalia, causing heavy casualty in troops and civilians.

In February, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that nearly 20,000 people were driven from their homes in Mogadishu by renewed fighting between government forces and opposition groups.

Somalia has been plagued by civil strife since the overthrow of military strongman Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Source: Xinhua
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