Mogadishu violence claims 19 lives (Somalia)
Clashes between Somali government soldiers and rebels have reportedly killed 19 people amid fears of more violence following Ethiopia's pullout.
The fighting between the gunmen and forces loyal to the Transitional Federal Government occurred in southern Mogadishu on Tuesday, leaving 19 people dead, Press TV's correspondent reports.
Clashes continue in Dharkenleyt and Wada Jir districts in the south of the Somali capital where the rebels struggle to take control of government bases.
The chairman of the Medina district in southern Mogadishu, Ahmed Daci, confirmed that seven of the dead were Somali soldiers. He further stressed that government forces are ready to defend their positions and confront insurgents.
Mortar shell explosions and heavy crossfire between the clashing sides has driven hundreds of people out of their homes.
Somalia remains the scene of growing violence and fighting among rebels and the weak interim government, which is backed by the African Union peacekeeping forces (AMISOM).
Land mine explosions destroyed a Ugandan military vehicle on Tuesday on Maka Al Mukarama Street in southern Mogadishu where eight civilians were injured. AMISOM sources confirmed that the incident occurred but denied that any Ugandan soldiers were killed or injured.
Last week, Ethiopia 'irreversibly' pulled out the troops it had deployed to the Horn of Africa state, raising fears of an increase in the attacks against the Somali government and its AU military allies.
Al-Shabaab official Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur emphasized last Thursday that the rebel group is determined to continue its armed activities to expel all foreign military forces from Somalia.
Mogadishu Mayor Mohamed Osman Ali Dhagah Tuur has accused anti-government fighters of disturbing peace and unilaterally attacking government soldiers at their bases.
Von: 20.01.2009, www.presstv.ir