[dehai-news] Deadly clashes in Somali capital

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From: wolda002@umn.edu
Date: Mon Jan 12 2009 - 22:55:06 EST

 Deadly clashes in Somali capital

At least 10 people have died in clashes between Somali government troops
and Islamic insurgents in the capital Mogadishu, reports say.

Rebels shelled the presidential palace where Prime Minister Nur Hassan
Hussein was meeting African Union peacekeepers, a government spokesman

Government forces retaliated by firing mortars which struck a crowded
market and residential area, witnesses say.

Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991.

Reports say that most of the casualties occurred in and around the city's
Bakara market.

"Several mortar shells fired from the Somali government positions struck
Bakara market and eight civilians died in one place while nine others were
wounded," trader Bashir Muktar told AFP news agency.

Another witness, Ahmed Abdullahi, described the scene as "horrific".

Ambulance and health officials reported many people had been injured in the
mortar attack on the market.

Rival groups

Government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon said no-one at the palace had been

Insurgents have attacked the palace several times over the past two years
but have not killed any senior officials.

The violence follows clashes between rival Islamist militia groups north of
Mogadishu which have killed about 30 people and injured more than 30

The fighting in Guriel involved the hardline group al-Shabaab and a local
militia, witnesses said.

Correspondents say that a power vacuum may be opening up as the
3,000-strong Ethiopian force pulls out of Somalia.

Ethiopian troops arrived in Somalia in 2006 to help the interim government
oust Islamists from the capital.

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