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44 killed in clashes in southern Somalia
Sun, 13 Mar 2011 02:26:27 GMT
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Hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area, some 18 Kilometers (11 miles) south of Mogadishu, on February 17, 2011.
Clashes between the Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a group, which is allied with the government, and al-Shabab fighters have left at least 44 people dead in southern Somalia.

The fighting broke out between the two sides in the town of Diif, located on the Somali side of the border with Kenya, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported on Saturday.

Over 80 people were also injured as the two sides exchanged heavy gunfire and barrages of mortar shells were fired.

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, and over 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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