1 January 2011

Somalia: 19 Killed in Mogadishu Clashes, Govt Forces Mutiny

At least 19 people were killed during heavy clashes on Saturday, with government forces staging a violent mutiny in a separate incident, Radio Garowe reports.

The fighting sparked overnight Friday after Al Shabaab insurgents attacked bases of Somali government forces and their African Union (AMISOM) allies in Hodan district.

Witnesses reported that many civilians including children were killed during the nighttime fighting. At least 25 wounded persons were admitted to Mogadishu's Medina Hospital.

Al Shabaab military spokesman, Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Musab, claimed that the insurgents killed 15 AMISOM peacekeepers and 30 Somali soldiers.

He did not say the number of casualties suffered on the Al Shabaab side, according to a Saturday press conference he held in Mogadishu.

Somali government officials and AMISOM officers have not issued public statements regarding Friday night's fighting.

Soldiers mutiny

At least 3 soldiers were killed and 7 others wounded Saturday in Mogadishu after Somali soldiers mutinied over nonpayment of salary.

The fighting among soldiers sparked after a group of mutinying soldiers prevented Cabinet ministers, parliamentarians and military officers of Somalia's UN-recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG) from entering the Villa Somalia presidential palace.

The 30-minute gun battle near Villa Somalia ended after senior military officials intervened to stop the bloodshed.

TFG forces are extremely disorganized and often engage in criminal activities, including robberies of civilians to compensate for nonpayment of salaries.

The TFG, led by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, is the 15th attempt by the international community to restore national order in Somalia for the first time since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

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