[dehai-news] (Reuters): Fighting kills at least 14 in Somalia

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Mar 30 2009 - 11:49:48 EST

Fighting kills at least 14 in Somalia

Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:09pm GMT


* Clashes break out in capital and Bay region

* Burundian peacekeeper killed by roadside bomb

(Adds peacekeeper killed, paragraphs 4-6)

By Abdi Guled and Abdi Sheikh

MOGADISHU, March 30 (Reuters) - Fighting between Somali police and Islamist
gunmen killed eight people in Mogadishu on Monday, witnesses said, raising
the stakes as a new president tries to bring stability to the failed Horn of
Africa state.

Clashes between hardline Islamists from the al Shabaab group and a rival
militia also killed six people in the central Bay region, but officials from
all factions declined to comment.

Residents said the latest battles in the capital broke out on the road
linking the strategic K4 junction with the hilltop presidential palace,
Villa Somalia.

Among the dead in Mogadishu was a Burundian soldier from a small African
Union peacekeeping mission based in the city.

"One of our troops died after a roadside bomb exploded in the south of
Mogadishu today," a senior AU officer told Reuters. "The bomb was targeted
at our convoy near our base, an old university building," he said.

On Saturday, new President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed condemned a call by al Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden for Somalis and Muslims worldwide to fight his new
administration. [ID:nLS359008]

Ahmed was chairman of the Islamic Courts Union that ran Mogadishu in 2006
before being ousted by Ethiopian forces wary of having an Islamist state for
a neighbour.

After forming an opposition party in exile, Ahmed joined the peace process
last year. He now faces the daunting task of trying to establish a new
security force and persuade Islamist fighters to back the government in the
interest of peace. (Writing by Daniel Wallis, editing by Tim Pearce)

C Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved


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