Fighting kills at least 13 in Somalia | world | Hindustan Times
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Fighting kills at least 13 in Somalia

world Updated: Mar 30, 2009 20:21 IST

Fighting between Somali police and Islamist gunmen killed seven people on Monday in Mogadishu, witnesses said, raising the stakes as a new president tries to bring stability to the failed Horn of Africa state.

Clashes between hardline Islamists from the al Shabaab group and a rival militia also killed six people in the central Bay region, but officials from all factions declined to comment.

Residents said the latest battles in the capital broke out on the road linking the strategic K4 junction with the hilltop Villa Somalia presidential palace.

There was no immediate breakdown of the casualties but civilians are often caught up in the bloodshed in Somalia.

On Saturday, new President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed condemned a call by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for Somalis and Muslims worldwide to fight his new administration. [ID:nLS359008]

Ahmed was chairman of the Islamic Courts Union that ran Mogadishu in 2006 before being ousted by Ethiopian forces, wary of having an Islamist state for a neighbour.

After forming an opposition party in exile, Ahmed joined the peace process last year. He now faces the daunting task of trying to establish a new security force and persuade Islamist fighters to back the government in the interests of peace.

(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh and Abdi Guled; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Angus MacSwan)