Mogadishu: Fighting in Somalia`s capital flared for a third straight day on Wednesday, killing eight people and pushing the week`s death toll past 80 as insurgents tried to force government troops back toward the presidential palace, officials said.
Mortar and rocket fire forced residents to flee and
closed businesses. Fighting between al-Shabab militants and
government and African Union forces has been fierce ever since
the al-Qaida-linked militant group declared a new "massive"
war against African Union troops on Monday.
"They attacked us last night in large numbers with RPGs
(rocket propelled grenades) and mortars, trying to run over us
and seize the Mecca-Almukara strategic road," said Sheikh
Osman, a militia commander allied with the government.
"For military tactics we initially retreated overnight,
and this morning as we received reinforcements we repulsed
The fighting has forced hundreds of people from their
homes. Women, children and the elderly could be seen fleeing
the warfare today. African Union tanks were in the streets to
support the government soldiers.
"The fighting is heavier than how it was for the last two
days. This time there is a strong shelling," said resident
At least eight people were killed in the latest fighting,
said Ali Muse, who is in charge of the city`s ambulance
service. Forty people were reported killed on Monday, while a
militant attack on a Mogadishu hotel yesterday killed 34,
including two militants.