Fighting in Somali capital continues after 23 die
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2010, 20:47
  
Mogadishu: Islamist insurgents and government forces battled for a second day in the Somali capital after medical officials on Thursday said 23 people had already been killed.

Insurgents attacking from the north on Wednesday reached within 2 kilometres of the presidential place in the heart of the city before being beaten back with the help of African Union peacekeepers in tanks, residents said.

The exchange of gunfire and mortars made it impossible to get an accurate death toll for today's fighting because ambulances could not get to the wounded and dying.

Ali Muse, the head of Mogadishu's ambulance service, said he saw 20 bodies lying in the streets yesterday before the clashes prevented him from going out any more. Sixty-five people were wounded, mostly civilians, he said.

Three of the wounded died overnight, said Abdi Mahad, a doctor at Medina Hospital.

"A mortar shell has just fallen into the house next to me. We can hear neighbours crying and can see smoke over their building, but I do not know if there is a casualty," Sahra Haji Abdulle said by phone from her home in northern Mogadishu. "We could hardly sleep last night. The sky was lit up by shelling all night. We have nowhere to escape."

African Union peacekeepers used tanks to help government forces when the insurgents got within a mile of the presidential palace, said resident Omar Salad. Other residents confirmed his account.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010, 20:47


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