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Clashes kill 9 in Mogadishu

At least nine people were killed and 43 wounded, when fighting erupted in Somalia between the militia and those aligned with warlords.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 15:40 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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At least nine people were killed and 43 wounded, when fighting erupted in Somalia between militia loyal to Mogadishu's Islamic courts and those aligned with warlords.

The latest bout of fighting, which follows clashes over the weekend in which at least 12 people were killed, began early on Monday, forcing hundreds of residents to flee the city.

Militias loyal to the Islamic sharia courts burned at least four flatbed trucks mounted with heavy machineguns and anti-aircraft guns, witnesses said.

Streets in the area remained empty, although the sound of sporadic gunfire could still be heard.

Each of the warring side blamed the other for the hostilities. This highlights the general lawlessness in this African country that has not had a functioning central government for the last 15 years and is run by various clan-based militias.

"The fighting will continue until those from the evil side surrender," said Hassan Dahir Aweis, an influential Islamic cleric who has dismissed claims by rival militia that the courts were breeding a new generation of militants linked to Al Qaeda.

Sharia courts function unofficially in Mogadishu and are the only form of semi-organised justice for the city.

Fighting among Somalia's myriad of clans and sub-clans has been common since warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and took over the nation of about 10 million.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 15:40 IST