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
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