From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Feb 23 2009 - 17:22:13 EST
Somalia: Govt forces fight each other as President returns
23 Feb 23, 2009 - 9:47:15 AM
MOGADISHU, Somalia Feb 23 (Garowe Online) - Fighting erupted Monday in
Somalia's capital Mogadishu among government forces, as newly elected
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed returned home, Radio Garowe reports.
At least three people were killed and six others wounded as both sides used
machineguns and mortars.
"A mortar round hit a house in Bondhere district, killing one civilian and
wounded five others, all of whom are from a single family," said witness
Another witness said the fighting sparked after a businessman was killed by
soldiers loyal to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
Mogadishu is home to Islamic Courts Union (ICU) militia and TFG soldiers who
are supposed to be combined to create a 10,000-strong police force that can
secure the capital from Islamist hardliners.
It is the first round of violence among TFG-ICU fighters since Sheikh
Sharif, the former ICU leader, was elected President of Somalia at a
UN-backed gathering in the neighboring Republic of Djibouti.
President Sheikh Sharif spoke at a press conference after landing at
Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport, where he condemned yesterday's
suicide bombing that killed 11 African Union peacekeepers.
"The bombing against AMISOM forces was a violation and I send condolences to
the families of the deceased, " Sheikh Sharif said, adding that AMISOM is in
the country to "uphold the peace. "
Hundreds of soldiers patrolled city streets in Mogadishu as President Sheikh
He was welcomed by senior government officials, including new Interior
Minister Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar, the former ICU deputy chairman.
Somalia has been mired in chaos since the 1990s. President Sheikh Sharif's
'unity government' is the 15th attempt to restore order in the Horn of
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