13 Die in Fresh Fighting in Mogadishu
Fresh fighting erupted in Somalia’s main capital, Mogadishu, between the government forces backed by the Africa Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Hizbul Islam terror group. Reports say that at least 13 people have died and 40 others were injured in the ensuing battle amidst plans by the AU to boost its troops levels. Media sources are reporting 11 deaths but sources in Mogadishu confirms 13 deaths to AfrobeatRadio’s East Africa correspondent, Abdulaziz Bilow.
“Hizbul Islam carried out simultaneous attacks yesterday on the presidential palace in the north of the capital, Mogadishu, and in an area, south of the city known as Tarabunk Junction.” said Sheikh Mohamed Osman Arus, a spokesman for the militant group. Arus was quoted as saying that “We burned a government armored vehicle and we inflicted many losses, we have cleared out many enemy positions.”
Most of the casualties are said to be women and children who were killed when a stray shell landed in the central Bakara market, said Ali Muse Sheikh, a paramedic for Nation link and Lifeline Africa. Separately, Colonel Saed Abdi Hassan, a spokesperson for the Somali government forces, said yesterday’s fighting lasted about half an hour. “The terrorist elements attacked our positions but they lost many people in the battle, none of us were hurt in the battle.” Said Saed.
The African Union plans to send an additional batch of 2,000 additional peacekeepers to Somalia to boost its existing contingent of 6,100-strong force, a move welcomed by the United Nations as a sign that there is “heightened concern” at the continental body about the Somali conflict.
Augustine Mahiga, the UN Special Representative for Somalia, said in a statement on the UN’s website yesterday that the deployment will take place within the next 40 days and troops will be airlifted by U.S., European Union and Algerian aircraft.
TFG spokesperson Abdulkadir Mohamoud Walayo, spokesman for the transitional federal government, said, “Their decision is a lifeline for the transitional government and is good not only for security in Somalia but for security in neighbouring countries,”
The weak AU/UN transitional federal government of Somalia has been battling two insurgents Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam groups for the past three years.