22 dead, 80 hurt in Somalia gun battles
At least 22 people have been killed and 80 wounded in heavy fighting between insurgents and government forces in the Somali capital Mogadishu, an official said.world Updated: Sep 25, 2010 07:49 IST
At least 22 people have been killed and 80 wounded in heavy fighting between insurgents and government forces in the Somali capital Mogadishu, an official said on Thursday.
"These are the worst casualties we have seen for months," Ali Muse, head of Mogadishu's ambulance service, said. "Our staff are still collecting casualties, so the numbe (of killed and injured) could go up."
Battles broke out between Islamist insurgents and African Union-backed government troops in north and south Mogadishu. Shells rained down on civilian districts as the two sides clashed.
Major Barigye Ba-Hoku, spokesman for the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM, said one Ugandan soldier had died and two were injured.
Two insurgents were also killed, he said.
AMISOM, which is made up of Ugandan and Burundian troops, is in the process of boosting its force to the mandated 8,000 soldiers.
Fighting has intensified over the last month as Al Shabaab, a group with links to Al Qaeda, and its allies push harder to topple the weak Western-backed government.
The government is penned into a few areas of Mogadishu by the militants, who control much of south and central Somalia.
Over 21,000 people have died in the insurgency, which began in early 2007.
The chaos-ridden Horn of Africa nation has been without an effective central government since 1991.