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29 people die in battle for Mogadishu
Mon, 28 Mar 2011 10:09:13 GMT
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A Somali government soldier walks along an empty road as they battle against al-Shabab fighters from their truck around Hodan district of the capital Mogadishu, March 21, 2011.
Heavy clashes between Somali government troops backed by African Union forces and al-Shabab fighters have resulted in the deaths of 29 people in Mogadishu.

At least 18 Somali soldiers died on Monday after bitter clashes broke out between al-Shabab fighters and the transitional government troops in Mogadishu's northern district of Afarta Darjino, a Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported.

More than 11 civilians were also killed and 30 others 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 hospital.

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

The Somali government has struggled for years to restore security but efforts have not yet yielded results in the nation.

Nearly a million people have died following years of fighting between rival warlords and also due to 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.

MP/HRF
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