At least 16 people, including the police chief of the Somali capital, were killed and many others wounded Wednesday in a fierce fighting between the security forces and Islamist insurgents here, officials and eyewitnesses said.
"Mogadishu police commander Col. Ali Said was among the dead, may Allah have mercy on his soul," Somali police spokesman Col. Abdulahi Hassan Barise told reporters here.
The fighting broke out early Wednesday when Somali troops attacked the rebels' bases in southern Mogadishu.
Six people have died after a shell landed close to them, Ismail Hussein, an eyewitness, told Xinhua. Many more people were also wounded in the incident, he said.
Meanwhile, health officials said 10 more people, mostly civilians, were killed and dozens wounded in the fighting. The injured civilians were rushed to hospitals.
Eyewitnesses said the fighting lasted for more than five hours.
"The fighting was intense and both sides were firing heavy machine guns and artillery at each other," said Yusuf Ali, a Mogadishu resident.
More than 200 people have been killed and around 500 others wounded in a new wave of violence that started in the Somali capital in May.
Officials said thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the renewed fighting.
Somalia has been without an effective central government since Somali ruler Mohamed Siyad Barre was ousted from power in 1991.