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
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.