First Published: 2007-04-20

 
Nine killed in Mogadishu fighting
 

Bitter clashes between Ethiopian forces and Islamist fighters as car explodes in Ethiopian army base.

 

Middle East Online

By Musfata Haji Abdinur – MOGADISHU

The death toll of civilians is rising



At least nine civilians were killed in bitter fighting Thursday between Ethiopian forces and Islamist insurgents in the Somali capital, including a possible suicide bombing on an army base.

One witness described seeing a suicide bomber detonate his car inside an Ethiopian base but officials could not confirm that the explosion was a kamikaze attack.

"I can tell you that a car has exploded inside the camp. It was a suicide bombing," said Sheikh Hassan, who lives on a rise overlooking the Aslubta camp, about seven kilometres (4.3 miles) southwest of Mogadishu.

Another resident, Ali Abdalla Mohamed, said: "It was a very heavy explosion and it came from Aslubta camp. I saw smoke coming out of the camp but I don't know the casualties."

Somali Deputy Defence Minister Salad Ali Jelle could not confirm that the blast was the work of a suicide bomber. There were no reports of casualties and Ethiopian troops were unavailable to comment.

Machinegun and heavy mortar fire battered several areas of the capital including the fortified presidential palace.

Witnesses said eight people were killed when a mortar shell hit a bus station in the south of the city.

"I have counted at least eight bodies, some of them dismembered," said witness Hussein Mohamed Abdi.

"They were innocent people who wanted to flee the town when they met death."

Another civilian was killed in Fagah district of northern Mogadishu when long-range shells crashed into residential areas, said resident Alaso Haji Warsame.

At least 12 civilians were wounded in the fighting but residents said the casualty figure could be higher as both sides fired unrelentingly. Many said they felt they were being targeted.

"We don't know why civilians are also being targeted. You see mortars and artillery shells landing everywhere and people are killed. May Allah save our souls," said Mohamed Sheikh Sudi, a driver.

At the same time as the blast at the military base, an Ethiopian military truck was blown apart by a landmine in Lasole area, about 18 kilometres (11 miles) south of the capital as an army convoy headed to Mogadishu, injuring two civilians in a minibus passing by, residents said.

Four days of fighting that broke out late last month was the worst violence in Mogadishu for 15 years and efforts to agree a lasting ceasefire have been dogged by clashes.

At least seven civilians were killed Tuesday and several houses destroyed when the rivals clashed in southern Mogadishu.

In Geneva, UN's humanitarian coordinator for Somalia Eric Laroche warned that a humanitarian catastrophe was looming in Somalia unless fighting subsided and access for relief aid is opened up, especially around Mogadishu.

"Unless something is done, the humanitarian crisis is going to turn into a catastrophe very soon," Laroche told journalists.

He said relief supplies were being blocked by government forces, UN aircraft were being shot at, corpses were lying in the streets of the capital, a cholera or diarrhea epidemic is taking hold and new flooding is likely soon.

Elders from Mogadishu's dominant Hawiye clan have unsuccessfully sought to end the fighting and have accused Ethiopian forces of breaking a truce they announced after last month's violence.

Hawiye elders say recent fighting has killed at least 1,000 people and wounded 4,000 others. The United Nations says at least 208,000 people have been displaced from the capital.

Ethiopian commanders have refused to meet again with the elders until guerrilla leaders agree to attend negotiations.

Addis Ababa deployed its forces to Somalia late last year to help the weak interim government oust the Islamist movement from the country's southern and central region.

Somalia, a nation of about 10 million, has lacked an effective government since the ousting of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 touched off a power struggle that exploded into inter-clan warfare.

 

Qatar says Gulf crisis hindering fight against IS

Khamenei vows to 'shred' nuclear deal if US pulls out

Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation

Bahrain accuses Iran of harbouring 160 'terrorists'

Jobless Tunisians seek new migration routes to Europe

Italy busts Libyan diesel smugglers

Fate of IS fighters in Raqa uncertain

Turkish Red Crescent concerned by Idlib humanitarian ‘drama’

US firm to build solar plants in Gaza

Ghost city Raqa scanned for survivors, bombs

Qatar emir calls for talks on visit to Indonesia

Iraq calls on BP to help develop Kirkuk oil

Israeli forces raid Palestinian media offices linked to Hamas

French parliament is set to pass new anti-terror law

Israel says no to Palestine talks until Hamas disarms

IS territory down to almost 10% of 2014 ‘caliphate’

Over 3000 civilians flee Raqa under deal with jihadists

Ideology and objectives clash at Deir Ezzor

Erdogan gets Polish backing on Turkey's EU bid

Iranian guards commander killed in Syria

Fitch Ratings says threat to Qatar liquidity fading

Iran warns EU against new nuclear deal conditions

Turkey activists face trial next week under terror charges

Netanyahu presses Russian defence minister on Iran

US-backed forces announce Raqa recapture

Hollande slams Trump's hardline stance on Iran nuclear deal

Iraq takes control of two key Kirkuk oil fields

US-backed forces retake Raqa state hospital

Divided Iraq tests limited US influence

New UN envoy in Rabat to restart talks on WSahara

Iraqi forces seize Kirkuk governor's office

Iraqi forces seize airport, oil field from Kurds

Saudi Arabia sets conditions to role in Syria reconstruction

In tougher approach, US offers multimillion-dollar reward for Hezbollah operatives

EU ministers join forces in support of Iran deal

Batteries, tape to thank for defeating jihadists in Raqa

Palestinian Authority top official visits Gaza

Israel strikes Syrian anti-aircraft battery in response to shots

Qatar starts to feel pinch from sanctions

Last days of Raqa battles ‘toughest fighting yet’

Omani role has helped Iran but may not do much in crisis with US

Head of IS in Southeast Asia dead

Mogadishu twin bomb death toll at 276

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

US-backed forces announce ‘final phase’ of Raqa recapture