One AU peacekeeper killed, two wounded in fresh Mogadishu fighting

15:39, September 24, 2010      

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One African Union (AU) peacekeeper was killed and two others wounded on Thursday in fierce battles with Islamist rebels that also left almost 20 civilians dead and more than 70 others wounded, a AU force spokesman said. "We have lost one soldier and two others were injured in today's fighting with the insurgents who attacked our positions," Bridgeye Bahouku, spokesman for the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia, (AMISOM) told Xinhua.

The 6,000-strong AU peacekeeping mission supports the Somali government which faces almost daily attacks from radical Islamist forces from Al Shabaab and Hezbul Islam groups.

The UN-authorized and AU-mandated forces have lost dozens of soldiers in battles with Islamist insurgent rebels since their deployment in 2007. The AU peacekeepers in Somalia are from Uganda and Burundi.

At least 20 civilians were also killed, 70 others wounded in the fighting that broke out following an attack on the government forces and AU troops in the southern Mogadishu district of Hodon and Hawlwadaag, medics told Xinhua.

"Several salvos of shells that hit in and around the main Bakara market left 20 people dead and 70 others wounded. Our staffs ferried most of the wounded to the hospitals in Mogadishu," Ali Muse, head of a voluntary emergency service, told Xinhua.

Most of the shells landed in a number of neighborhoods far from the battle areas with most of the casualties in and around the main Bakara market which was closed as a result of the fighting.

The clashes centered around the main route of Dabka Street that connected the government-held part of Mogadishu to the insurgent- run side of the restive coastal city, witnesses said.

Islamist groups of Al Shabaab and their allies of Hezbul Isalam luanch almost daily attacks on targets of the Somali government and AU peacekeeping troops based in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Somali has been without a strong central government for almost two decades following the collapse of the government of former strongman Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王千原雪)

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