Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

ISRAELI STRIKE TAKES OUT GAZA POWER STATION AND ZHOU FALLS FROM GRACE

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

  • Deadly shelling strikes Gaza UN school

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Europe launches last resupply ship to space station

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

Africa

Dozens killed as army tries to rout Islamists from Mogadishu

Video by Catherine VIETTE

Latest update : 2009-05-23

Residents fled Mogadishu on Saturday, following a pre-dawn offensive on Friday to try to drive Islamist rebels from their Mogadishu strongholds, which resulted in dozens of deaths.

AFP - Terrified residents fled the Somali capital on Saturday, following a day of fierce fighting between government forces and Islamist hardline rebels that left at least 31 people dead.
   
Most of those killed in Friday's exchanges were civilians trapped in the crossfire or claimed by mortars. As soon as things calmed down many inhabitants packed up what they could and left Mogadishu.
   
"The city is quiet this (Saturday) morning and many people are fleeing to avoid upcoming attacks, I think the government is planning a further offensive," said Somali police officer Colonel Mohamed Adan.
   
A witness, Abdulahi Warsameh, corroborated his information, saying, "Many residents have emptied their houses in (the) Wardhigley (district) because they fear new clashes."
   
Government forces encountered Friday fierce resistance as they tried unsuccessfully to drive the Islamist insurgents from the capital.
   
With President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed holed up in his compound with a handful of supporters, his embattled forces attacked insurgents in three positions they had lost in two weeks of fighting that have now killed close to 150 people.
   
A toll compiled late Friday by AFP from medical sources, security officials and witnesses put the number of killed in the latest clashes at 29, including a young local journalist who was caught in crossfire.
   
A resident on Saturday provided new information pushing up the toll. "We found the dead bodies of two civilians in the contested areas; they were caught in the cross-fire," said Mubarak Hassan.
   
Aid agencies said on Wednesday that the first 12 days of clashes had displaced 46,000 people from Mogadishu.
   
The Somali capital has been ravaged by 18 years of almost uninterrupted civil conflict and emptied of hundreds of thousands of residents by the violent fighting that followed Ethiopia's 2006 invasion.
   
The Shebab and Hezb al-Islamiya fighters are the main insurgents trying to topple Sharif's internationally recognised transitional government.
   
The rebels launched attacks against the government on May 7 and said they had received the support of foreign fighters to wage some of the worst clashes Mogadishu has suffered in months.
   
The Horn of Africa nation has not had a central government since the ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 which set off a bloody cycle of clashes between rival factions.

Date created : 2009-05-23

COMMENT(S)