Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Africa

Dozens die in fighting between AU forces and Islamist rebels

Latest update : 2009-02-28

Nearly 50 civilians have died in two days of fighting in Mogadishu, as well as in the south central town of Hudur. This comes just days after new President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed returned to Mogadishu to set up his new unity government.

AFP -  Hardline Somali Islamists seized a town Wednesday and renewed attacks in the capital Mogadishu, ramping up an onslaught against newly-elected President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and his allies.
   
At least 17 people, mainly fighters, were killed in clashes when the Shebab group attacked the northwestern town of Hodur and wrested it from the control of pro-government forces, witnesses said.
   
A second day of clashes between government forces and another Islamist militia in the capital Mogadishu also left seven civilians dead.
   
Elders and witnesses in Hodur, a small town near the Ethiopian border, said the fighting was fierce and confirmed that the Shebab fighters had captured the town.
   
"Many people died in the fighting. We counted about fourteen who were killed outside the town and three inside. People are reporting there could be more bodies on the outskirts of the town," local elder Adan Nur Muktar said.
   
A medic at Hodur hospital said the death toll from Wednesday morning's fighting was expected to top 20.
   
"We killed about 20 of them and destroyed two armed vehicles," regional Shebab commander Sheikh Hasan Derow told AFP.
   
Somalia's top Shebab commander Sheikh Mukhtar Robow said Hodur, some 300 kilometres (185 miles) northwest of the capital, was now under his group's control.
   
"The mujahedeen (fighters) took control of Hodur and the situation in the town is calm," Robow told AFP.
   
The Shebab, a former military youth wing of an Islamist movement ousted by Ethiopia-backed Somali forces two years ago, had carried out relentless attacks against the Ethiopian forces who withdrew from Somalia last month.
   
In recent months, the Shebab have also launched operations against rival Somali factions and conquered large swathes of territory, leaving government forces in control of little more than a handful of blocks in Mogadishu.
   
Fighting also resumed in Mogadishu between an Islamist militia and government forces backed by African Union troops, a day after some of the bloodiest clashes since the president's January 31 election.
   
A total of seven civilians were killed by artillery shells that hit houses, witnesses said. Three more people were killed in northern Mogadishu, raising an earlier toll of four.
   
"I was giving lessons to the students when a mortar shell struck the school, killing a child and wounding four others," said Mohamed Adan Yusuf.
   
The clashes were less intense by late afternoon, but sporadic fire could still be heard, an AFP correspondent reported.
   
At least 23 people were killed and more than 90 wounded in clashes in the violence-wracked Somali capital Tuesday.
   
Fighters loyal to Hizb al-Islamiya (Islamic Party) claimed responsibility for the clashes, which erupted after they attacked government forces south of Mogadishu.
   
Hizb al-Islamiya and the radical Islamist Shebab fighters have intensified their battles against the government of Sheikh Sharif, a moderate Islamist elected president under United Nations-brokered reconciliation talks.
   
Islamist forces opposed to the UN-sponsored reconciliation bids in Somalia have launched several deadly attacks against the government and African Union forces in recent days.
   
The attacks were seen as a warning to the troubled country's new president,  himself a former Islamist rebel leader who has vowed to stabilise Somalia.
   
The Shebab also claimed responsibility for a suspected suicide attack against AU troops in Mogadishu that killed 11 Burundian peacekeepers on Sunday.
   
Last month, they took control of the south-central Baidoa town which hosted the transitional federal parliament after Ethiopian troops withdrew.
   

Date created : 2009-02-25

COMMENT(S)