Civilians killed in Somalia clashes

Fighting breaks out between Ethiopian troops and Somali groups in Mogadishu.

    The clashes are the most serious since a truce deal was agreed last Friday [AFP]
    Tanks roll in

    Fighting has escalated recently in Mogadishu and Thursday's missile attacks constitute the first use of aerial power in the city in several months.

    AFP reported that local residents pulled the bodies of two soldiers along a street while five other bodies in Ethiopian uniforms were lying on the ground in the southern district of Shirkole.

    Explosions and gunfire rattled around the streets from soon after dawn, sending locals running for cover.

    Loudspeakers had earlier transmitted calls for residents to come out and fight the Ethiopian troops backing Somalia's transitional government.

    The local Shabelle broadcaster said at least 11 people, mainly civilians, had been killed.

    It also reported two tanks had been destroyed.

    Medics at one hospital said large numbers of wounded were being rushed there.

     

    "Patients are coming to us by the minute, it is too much," a doctor at the Madina hospital said.

    We have admitted 50 patients with weapon-related wounds, three died here, including a 10-year-old boy," one doctor told Reuters.
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    A resident, Mohamed Ali Hassan, said: "I have seen two people killed by stray bullets and I have also seen three others wounded.
     
    "I can see the Ethiopian tanks taking positions in our neighbourhood, in front of my house," said.
     
    "I have seen a neighbour killed by stray bullets," said Hawo Moalil. "My younger daughter was wounded by a stray bullet."
     
    Explosions
     
    Residents also reported five others killed in Gupta, also in southern Mogadishu, after artillery hit a garage.
     
    "We don't know where the fire was coming from, maybe it was a mortar or an artillery shell. Five people were killed, three of them in the garage and two others were outside," said a resident, Ahmed Hassan Madobe.
     
    He said that continued fighting prevented residents from collecting the bodies, and that six people had been wounded.
     
    "The place was full of smoke after a big bang. Three people were killed inside the garage and two were in a compound next to the garage," said another resident, Asha Abdullahi.
     
    She said nine people had been wounded and three were in a criticial condition.
     
    Ethiopian tanks rolled into southern neighbourhoods after deploying nearby on Wednesday evening.
     
    Ethiopian forces, which support Somalia's weak transitional government, chased the Union of Islamic Courts group out of the capital and the southern half of the country three months ago, but have come under increasing attacks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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