Seven children killed in Somalia shelling
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Last Updated: Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 23:56
Mogadishu: Seven children were among ten people killed in shelling by Somali government forces in Mogadishu on Wednesday as the troops backed by African Union peacekeepers fired mortars into districts held by Islamist insurgents.

The seven children were struck by shells while playing football in the capital's southern Wardhigley neighbourhood, witnesses and medical officials said.

"I saw the bodies of seven children killed after a mortar shell struck a playground near... a primary school," said Mohamed Abdulle, a witness.

Two other civilians died of their wounds in the city's Medina hospital where 13 people were taken for treatment, the hospital's director Mohamed Yusuf Hasan told AFP, while another civilian was killed by a stray bullet. (AFP)

The shelling was in retaliation for an attack by the hardline Islamists who had fired shells at the bases of the AU and government forces, said Mohamed Ali, a Somali government security official.

The Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab militants and their Hezb al-Islam allies vowed to topple the internationally-backed government of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed when they launched a deadly onslaught last May.

They have since waged regular attacks against the government, reducing its control of war-wracked Mogadishu to a few streets where it is protected by the understrength AU forces.

But in recent days, the Shebab have faced fierce offensive from a government-allied group opposed to a brand of strict Islam they have imposed in the parts of central and southern Somalia under their control.


First Published: Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 23:56

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