27 August 2009

Somalia: Four Killed in Battle Over Key Mogadishu Checkpoint

Mogadishu — At least four people were killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Thursday after insurgents attacked an important government checkpoint, Radio Garowe reports.

Eight other people were wounded in the fighting, which began after insurgents attacked government forces manning a key checkpoint along the road linking Mogadishu to Afgoye, an agricultural town controlled by Hizbul Islam insurgents.

All the four dead victims were fighters but the wounded victims included civilians, witnesses said. The flow of traffic came to standstill for nearly two hours.

Sheikh Abdirisak Mohamed Qaylow, a Somali military spokesman, told reporters that insurgents attacked the checkpoint but were later repulsed.

"On our side, two soldiers were wounded. There were many dead bodies on their [insurgents] side," said Mr. Qeylow.

Somali insurgent groups, namely Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, have not spoken publicly about the latest clashes.

Somalia's UN-backed Transitional Federal Government is battling against Islamist insurgents intent on overthrowing the government and installing a new regime in Mogadishu.

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