10 killed as insurgents shell Somalia’s presidential palace

March 30th, 2008 - 12:54 am ICT by admin  

Mogadishu, March 29 (DPA) At least 10 civilians were killed and several wounded in heavy shelling between Islamist insurgents and guards at the presidential palace in Mogadishu Saturday, witnesses said. The insurgents began targeting the presidential palace, where Somali President Abdulahi Yusuf and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoun Mesfin were meeting, with mortar fire.

Presidential guards retaliated with heavy mortar fire, hitting an open air Bakara market where eight people were killed instantly, according to witnesses.

“It was a very gruesome scene,” Ibrahim Sheeq Abdulle, a shopkeeper at the scene told DPA. “Some injured people running away for safety,” he said, adding that some of them were bleeding and the scene was chaotic.

“At least four mortars landed at the palace. I saw smoke coming out of the building as guards fired mortars in response to the shelling,” Khadijo Keyre, a resident at the palace told DPA.

Yusuf and Mesfin had entered the closed door meeting at the palace earlier Saturday, with reporters banned from the venue.

The Ethiopian-backed transitional government rolled into the Somali capital in January 2007, unleashing a brutal, Iraq-style insurgency that has displaced more than 600,000 people in what the UN calls the world’s worst and most neglected humanitarian crisis.

Somalia has had no effective central rule since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre.

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