Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Macron Economics'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Macron-economics, the former banker turned minister

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The capital of sex, drugs, alcohol, trash and trashy tourism'

Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • American 'Islamic State fighter' killed in Syria

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    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)