17 July 2009

Somalia: Five Civilians Killed By Shelling in Mogadishu

Mogadishu — At least "40 shells" hit homes and residential areas in Mogadishu's Kaaraan, Yaaqshiid and Wardhigley districts, most of which remain under the control of insurgents despite a government offensive to uproot the insurgents from these areas earlier in the week.

Insurgent mortars pounded targets in Hamarweyne district in response, where at least seven civilians were wounded. Hamarweyne district is under the control of pro- government forces.

A witness in Kaaraan district said the dead civilians were "guarding their homes" when shells slammed into the area. Ambulance workers said wounded civilians were taken to Keysaney and Daynile hospitals for treatment.

Somali government forces, aided by African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM), launched a new offensive on July 11, sparking a two-day battle over control of north Mogadishu districts where upwards fo 70 people were killed.

However, the pro-government forces re treated after briefly seizing the districts and the insurgents peacefully retook control of the districts.

Somalia's interim government controls pockets of Mogadishu and is struggling against Islamist hardliners who have vowed to overthrow the Western-backed government.

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