[QODLink]
Africa
Somalia clashes leave many dead
At least 14 people killed as al-Shabab attempts suicide attack on AU peacekeepers.
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2010 06:12 GMT
Al-Shabab said the attack was a 'retaliation' for the killing of senior al-Qaeda commnders in Iraq [AFP]

At least 14 civilians have been killed during a battle between government soldiers and al-Qaeda-linked fighters, witnesses say.

Tuesday's clashes followed a separate suicide car bomb attack in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, by al-Shabab fighters on the base of African Union peacekeepers.

The peacekeepers fired on the explosives-laden vehicle, killing its three occupants.

After the attack, the fighters engaged government soldiers and militiamen allied to the UN-backed government of Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as they moved between bases in southern Mogadishu.

The clash triggered a four-hour battle.

Casualties

Ali Araf, a tailor in the area, said he counted the bodies of eight people, adding that he was slightly wounded during the battle in which both sides pounded each other with mortars.

Ali Muse, the head of Mogadishu's ambulance service, said his group had counted six other bodies and took about 40 wounded people to dfferent hospitals.

IN DEPTH


Timeline: Somalia
Restoring Somalia
A long road to stability
Al-Shabab: Somali fighters undeterred
 Somalia at a crossroads
 Somaliland: Africa's isolated state
 What next for Somalia?
 Who are al-Shabab?
 Riz Khan: The vanishing Somalis

Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage, al-Shabab's spokesman, said the attack was in retaliation for the recent killing of senior al-Qaeda commanders in Iraq.

"We have carried out a holy suicide attack against the enemy of Allah in Mogadishu today and we destroyed the bank building where they were stationed," Rage said.

"This attack was a retaliation for the killing of our mujahedin brothers Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu al-Masri ... in Iraq."

The 5,000-strong AU force, with troops from Uganda and Burundi, is regularly targeted by al-Shabab fighters who have vowed to overthrow the transitional government.

Last September, 17 peacekeepers were killed in twin bombings at the forces' headquarters in the deadliest attack on the AU since it arrived in Mogadishu in early 2007.

Al-Shabab and its Hezb al-Islam allies have restricted Ahmed's government control to just a few streets in the capital since launching an onslaught last year.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
join our mailing list