23 April 2008

Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Vacate Villages in Mogadishu, Bodies Discovered

The Ethiopian troops in the recent times based in villages of Heliwa neighborhood north of Mogadishu have pulled out there on Wednesday morning-residents said.

The soldiers have taken out from SOS and Wahar Adde villages where they arrived after a heavy fighting between the Ethiopian-Somali troops and Islamic courts fighters occurred there in this week.

One resident who left the area after the soldiers left told Shabelle that Four bodies killed by the Ethiopian troops were discovered the vacated areas.

The Ethiopian troops have disappeared towards former pasta industry of the same Heliwa neighborhood where they have key army base.

“We saw four decomposed bodies’ their body has relatively worn out” one resident said who declined to reveal his name.

A Somali human rights group says two days of fighting in the capital, Mogadishu, has killed 81 people.

The Elman Human Rights organization says another 119 people were wounded in fighting Saturday and Sunday between Islamist insurgents and Ethiopian troops.

The chairman of the rights group, Sudan Ali Ahmed condemned the use of artillery shells in residential areas of Mogadishu.

There was no independent verification of the death toll, but residents had reported escalating clashes since Saturday. Witnesses say they have seen scores of bodies in the streets of Mogadishu.

Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein expressed regret Sunday for Somalis who are forced to flee the violence, but he said his interim government and its Ethiopian allies have the right to self-defense.

The Somali government has the backing of Ethiopian troops, who in 2006 helped drive a militant Islamist movement from power in southern Somalia.

Fighting between the insurgents and pro-government forces has killed thousands of Somalis during the past 16 months. The conflict has intensified the country's already dire humanitarian crisis.

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