10 civilians among 12 killed in Mogadishu violence

August 5th, 2008 - 5:13 am ICT by IANS  

Mogadishu, Aug 5 (Xinhua) At least 12 people, including 10 civilians, were killed and 18 wounded after Ethiopian troops and Somali government forces shelled residential areas in northeast of Somali capital Mogadishu Monday, witnesses and media reports said. The military offensive, which was a response to the insurgent attacks on bases of Ethiopian and Somali government troops early Monday, launched in residential areas of Waharadde, al-Adala and Suqa Holaha in the Huruwa district in Mogadishu, the Shabelle radio station reported.

Witnesses also told Xinhua that many wounded people had been stranded in their homes, as the street closures were in effect at night.

The Islamic Courts Union insurgents claimed responsibility of the attacks on government troops.

“Two of our fighters have been martyred and three were injured in the concerted attack we waged against the (Ethiopian) enemy and their collaborators (Somali government forces),” said Sheik Abdirahim Isse Adow, spokesman for the militant group.

Our fighters “inflicted heavy losses” against Somali government forces and Ethiopian troops, Adow said without giving much details.

However, there was no word from the government about the militants’ claim.

The Somali government is in the midst of a political crisis after growing rift between top leaders that emerged following the resignation of nearly two-thirds of cabinet over Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein’s dismissal of the Mayor of Mogadishu, a close ally of the Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.

Somalia is facing a humanitarian crisis caused by conflict, drought, and price rises in basic commodities.

Some 2.6 million Somalis, representing 35 percent of the population, are believed to be in need of humanitarian aid.

Insurgents launch regular attacks on the transition administration and its Ethiopian military allies.

The UN estimates that about 1.5 million people have fled after recent fighting. The country’s opposition groups, which include a movement ousted from power in 2006, are opposed to Ethiopian troops remaining in Somalia.

There hasn’t been a functioning government in Somalia since 1991, when former president Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted.

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