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Africa
Clinton to meet Somali president
The meeting comes as Somalia is ravaged by heavy fighting.
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2009 17:02 GMT
Armed groups have stepped up an offensive
against the government [AFP]

The US secretary of state plans to meet the president of Somalia's transitional government during a seven-nation trip to Africa next week, the state department has said.

Hillary Clinton will meet Sheikh Sharif Ahmed on the sidelines of an annual trade forum with sub-Saharan countries, which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, on August 5, Ian Kelly, the state department spokesman, said in a statement on Monday.

The meeting comes as Somalia is ravaged by years of violence that worsened  two months ago when armed groups stepped up an offensive against the internationally-backed government of President Ahmed.

On Monday, mortar attacks by Somali armed groups disrupted a parliamentary session as heavy fighting between  the groups and African Union-backed government forces killed seven civilians, officials said.

Heavy fighting

At least seven civilians were killed and 18 others wounded in fighting between al-Shabab and government forces backed by the AU troops, police in the capital said.

In video

Civilians bear the brunt of Somalia fighting

The parliament was meeting for the first time since al-Shabab and Hizb al-Islam groups launched an anti-government offensive in May.

"Several mortar shells struck the compound where we were having a session but there were no casualties. The session was called off after the attack and will continue tomorrow," Mohamed Adan, a legislator said.

Some 300 MPs were meeting in a building in the south of the capital Mogadishu when al-Shabab fighters began firing mortars.

"We heard explosions of mortar as we started our session minutes  after the president left the compound," said Hussein Ali, another MP.

Source:
Agencies
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