SomaliPress.com

Mogadishu Clashes Kill Dozens

Published on Sunday 6th June 2010

At least 23 people, mostly civilians have been killed and over 60 others injured in heavy clashes that rocked Somalia's capital Mogadishu in the last two days.

Civilians caught in the cross fire started vacating their homes in northern districts of Shibis and Abdiasis.

According to Ali Muse of Mogadishu Ambulance Services, the dead include six women and a family of five whose home has been hit by mortar shells.

"So far, we have assisted more than 60 wounded who were admitted at Keysaney, Medina and Daynile. We can confirm the death of at least 17 people," he said on Thursday.

Duniya Mohammed, a medic at Medina Hospital confirmed the death of five civilians brought to the hospital with serious injuries.

Witnesses said newly trained Somali troops backed by African Union forces with their battle tanks moved into the northern districts to flash out Al-Shabaab insurgent fighters, who recently conquered the areas.

Pro-government Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama militia clashed with insurgents fighters in parts of hodan while mortar shells fired from government positions landed in Yaqhid district, causing the deaths of civilians, according to witnesses.

Both sides have claimed victory over each other.

"We have captured Abdiasis neighbourhood and killed several Al-Shabaab fighters. Our troops and their AMISOM backers are in control of the areas," said a government troops commander.

On his part, Al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohammud Raghe refuted government's victory claims. His claims were backed by an independent journalist who told Garowe Online that he and some clooagues were taken on a tour around the contested areas by Al-Shabaab officials.

"Al-Shabaab officials took us to the frontlines and we have seen a burning AMISOM vehicle, I can't tell for sure the type of the vehicle. There was an ongoing fierce battle at the time," said the journalist, who added that Al-Shabaab also lost the strategic Abdiasis junction.

Mogadishu was the scene of deadly clashes between rebel fighters and pro-government forces which killed more than 21,000 civilians and displaced millions others since 2007.

The UN-backed Somali government, which is guarded by AU troops is confined in few blocks of Mogadishu while the insurgents have large swathes of territory.

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