3 August 2009

Somalia: President Travels to Kenya, Seven Killed in Clashes

Mogadishu — Three combatants were killed when Hizbul Islam rebels attacked the Villa Somalia presidential compound, drawing Somali government troops and African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) into battle.

At least 12 people were wounded inside Bakara Market, after artillery shells slammed into buildings.

Business stopped for a temporary at the market but resumed later today, witnesses said.

Separately, three people including two soldiers were killed near KM4 intersection when the two soldiers opened fire on each other.

Local sources said the two soldiers "disagreed over extortion money" they were forcefully collecting from civilians using the road. Mogadishu is teeming with armed men in uniform, many of whom have been accused of robbing the public.

In a different incident, one soldier was killed when suspected insurgents hurled a hand grenade at a group of soldiers in Medina district.

Five soldiers wounded by the explosion were reportedly receiving medical treatment at Medina Hospital.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed

Meanwhile, President Sheikh Sharif flew from Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport leading a delegation that included Cabinet ministers and lawmakers.

The Somali president is expected to attend a regional trade summit in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Further, President Sheikh Sharif is supposed to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the summit.

The U.S. government, under President Barack Obama, has been attempting to reshape U.S. policy on Somalia and has donated a weapons shipment to President Sheikh Sharif's interim government in Mogadishu.

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