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46 die in battle for Mogadishu
Sun, 20 Feb 2011 01:09:45 GMT
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Al-Shabab fighters (file photo)
At least 46 people have been killed in heavy clashes between Somali government troops backed by African Union forces and al-Shabab fighters in Mogadishu.

Thirty-one soldiers were killed on Saturday when al-Shabab fighters attacked military bases of the transitional government troops in Mogadishu's southern districts of Hodan, Hawlwadig, and Wardhiigley, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported.

Fifteen civilians were also killed when fierce clashes broke out between the two sides and barrages of mortar shells were fired. Forty people were injured in the fighting.

Somali ambulance workers ferried the wounded to Medina hospital.

In a separate incident on Saturday, a number of al-Shabab fighters were killed when Somali forces shelled Bakara Market -- the biggest and busiest market in southern Mogadishu.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Over the past two decades, up to one million people have lost their lives in the fighting between rival factions and due to famine and disease.

There are more than 1.4 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Somalia. More than 300,000 IDPs are sheltering in Mogadishu alone.

Most of the displaced live in poor and degrading conditions on makeshift sites in southern and central Somalia, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

MP/AGB/HGL
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