MOGADISHU, Feb 24 – At least five people were killed and 30 wounded Tuesday in heavy clashes in the Somali capital between government forces and an armed militia, witnesses said.
Heavily armed fighters attacked the government forces in Mogadishu’s southern Taleh district, sparking an intense firefight.
"Three people were killed when a mortar shell struck a house," said witness Abdiaziz Diriye, whose uncle was killed.
Two other civilians were killed by stray bullets in areas near the scene of clashes, other residents said.
A medical official in the city’s Medina hospital said more than 20 wounded people had been taken in for treatment.
"More than 20 civilians injured in the fighting were admitted in the hospital and it is likely that the toll will rise because the fighting is still going on," Ali Adde told AFP.
In addition to those already taken to hospital, local resident Abduhafid Mohamed said another 11 people were wounded when mortar shells struck their houses.
Another witness Adan Jumale confirmed the incident, saying he had seen at least 10 wounded civilians.
The clashes broke out a day after President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed returned to the country from neighbouring Djibouti where he was finalising the line-up of his government following his January 31 election.
At the weekend, 11 African Union peacekeepers from Burundi were killed in a suicide attack claimed by the hardline Islamist Shebab militia.