Mogadishu death toll hits 13
Thursday, 25 September 2008

AFP, MOGADISHU - Six bodies were recovered overnight in the Somali capital taking the death toll to 13 in clashes between African peacekeepers and Islamist rebels, witnesses said on Wednesday.

At least seven civilians had already been killed since heavily-armed insurgents attacked the peacekeepers' base in southern Mogadishu late Tuesday, in the latest outbreak of fighting which has left the capital in ruins.
 
"Six civilians, one of them a young girl, died near a school in Bakara overnight. The victims were trying to take cover from the falling shells," said local resident Abdiaziz Mohamed Dirie.
 
Fartun Moalim Yusuf, whose sister was among the fatalities, gave a harrowing account of the fighting that saw the peacekeepers use tanks for the first time since they were deployed in March 2007.
 
"It was horrible moment, we escaped from our house to hide in a concrete building nearby but unfortunately that did not save her. She was torn to pieces with five other civilians," she said.
 
Medical sources in the capital's Madina hospital said at least 30 civilians were wounded in the fighting.
 
The latest bloodshed brings the death toll to at least 42 since the clashes erupted on Monday.
 
A Islamist group called Mujahideens of Raskamboni said it attacked the peacekeepers.
 
"It was a retaliatory attack against the African forces and it was the heaviest ever waged against them," its spokesman Mohamoud Dulyadeyn told reporters.
 
He added that the group, one of the many Islamist outfits in Somalia, "operates in Somali territories carrying out attacks against the enemy of Allah."
 
Ethiopian troops intervened to prop up the feeble Somali government at the end of 2006 and eventually drove the Islamists from much of the country's southern and central regions, where they had established Sharia law.
 
Since then, the Islamists have killed numerous government officials and vowed to fight until the Ethiopians, whom they regard as occupiers, withdraw.

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