68 die in battle for Mogadishu
Sat, 09 Apr 2011 02:16:48 GMT
At least 68 people have been killed in Somalia in clashes between government forces and African Union troops backing them and al-Shabab fighters.
Nine civilians from one family were killed in fighting in the Dayniile district of southern Mogadishu, which also claimed the lives of six African Union troops and eight Somali soldiers, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported on Friday.
Witnesses also said that 26 people sustained life-threatening injuries during massive shelling of the district.
Other reliable sources told the Press TV correspondent that at least 45 al-Shabab fighters were killed as a result of heavy shelling by African Union forces.
Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said on February 23 that 17,000 African Union and Somali soldiers would continue to fight against the al-Shabab fighters in order to drive them out of the capital and other cities.
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.