17 dead, 45 injured in Somalia fighting | world | Hindustan Times
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17 dead, 45 injured in Somalia fighting

world Updated: Nov 18, 2010 10:28 IST

At least 17 people died and 45 others were injured in the Somali capital Mogadishu Wednesday during fighting between Islamist insurgents and African Union (AU) peacekeepers.

Heavy shelling and exchanges of fire followed an insurgent attack on an AU peacekeeping base, killing civilians, according to witnesses and officials.

"We have collected 17 dead bodies and 45 other wounded civilians," Ali Muse Sheikh, the head of Mogadishu's ambulance service, told DPA.

"Most of the casualties occurred in the two main markets in Mogadishu."

Eight civilians died when an AU shell landed in the busy Bakara market area, one witness told DPA.

The Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab is battling to oust the weak government, which is protected by the AU.

The government is penned into a few enclaves in Mogadishu, while the insurgents control much of south and central Somalia.

More than 21,000 people have died since the insurgency kicked off in early 2007.