28 civilians die in battle for Mogadishu
Sun, 20 Mar 2011 03:31:04 GMT
Intense clashes between Somali government troops backed by African Union forces and al-Shabab fighters in Mogadishu have left 28 civilians dead.
At least 11 civilians died on Saturday after clashes broke out between al-Shabab fighters and transitional government troops close to Bakara Market -- the biggest and busiest market in southern Mogadishu, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported.
Scores of people were also wounded when Somali forces shelled the districts close to Bakara Market, which is one of al-Shabab's main strongholds.
Separately, 17 civilians were killed and more than 40 others injured when Somali soldiers and al-Shabab fighters exchanged heavy gunfire.
There are also reports that Aden Adde international airport in Mogadishu has come under artillery fire from al-Shabab fighters.
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.