Tue Aug 21, 2018 | 06:55
Skirmishes leave 12 dead in Mogadishu
Tue, 19 Apr 2011 05:57:15 GMT
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A Somali government soldier with a rocket launcher takes up a position during clashes with al-Shabab fighters in Mogadishu's southern district of Hodan. (file photo)
Heavy clashes between al-Shabab fighters and Somali government troops backed by African Union forces have resulted in the deaths of 12 people in the capital Mogadishu.

Six civilians were killed on Monday after bitter clashes broke out between al-Shabab fighters and the transitional government troops in Mogadishu's southern districts of Hawlwadig and Hodan, a Press TV correspondent reported.

“I have seen the dead bodies of at least 6 civilians lying near an intersection around Bakara market,” an eyewitness told Press TV on condition of anonymity.

Six al-Shabab fighters were also killed after Somali soldiers and members of anti-government al-Shabab group exchanged heavy gunfire and barrages of mortar shells.

“We killed six al-Shabab members in the fighting. We could also break al-Shabab's lock on large swaths of Mogadishu regions,” Somali military commander Abdullahi Ma'alim Noor said.

However, al-Shabab claimed that it had successfully repelled government forces' advance into areas under its control.

“Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops attacked our positions but we successfully defeated them and managed to seize more parts of Hawlwadig and Hodan,” said al-Shabab military spokesman, Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Muscab.

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 (IDP) in Somalia. More than 300,000 IDP's 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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