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28 die in central Somalia clashes
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 01:31:44 GMT
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Somali government soldiers patrol along a main road in the Warshadaha district during clashes with al-Shabab fighters in Mogadishu on February 23, 2011.
Clashes between Somali government soldiers and al-Shabab fighters have left at least 28 people dead and many others injured in central Somalia.

Over 15 Somali soldiers died on Saturday morning after skirmishes broke out in Baladweyn town, the capital of the Hiran region and a strategic central town that lies some 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported.

At least 13 civilians lost their lives and many more sustained injuries when Somali government soldiers and al-Shabab fighters 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. Over 300,000 IDPs are sheltering 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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