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Scores killed in fresh Somali clashes
Thu, 24 Mar 2011 17:39:44 GMT
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Peacekeepers from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) patrol a street in southern Mogadishu on March 22, 2011.
Heavy clashes between Somali government troops backed by African Union forces and al-Shabab fighters have resulted in the death of 61 people in capital Mogadishu.

At least 39 people died after bitter clashes broke out between al-Shabab fighters and the transitional government troops in various districts of Mogadishu late on Wednesday.

The skirmishes continued till dawn, a Press TV correspondent reported on Thursday.

Over 70 civilians, among them 40 women and children, were also injured when Somali soldiers and al-Shabab fighters exchanged heavy gunfire and barrages of mortar shells were fired.

Somali ambulance workers ferried those wounded to Medina and Dayniile hospitals.

Separately, 22 civilians were killed and at least 45 others injured when Somali forces shelled the districts close to Bakara Market -- the biggest and busiest market in southern Mogadishu and one of al-Shabab's main strongholds.

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

Nearly a million people have died following years of fighting between rival warlords as well as the country's inability to deal with famine and disease.

There are more than 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia. More than 300,000 IDPs have been sheltered in Mogadishu alone.

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

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