Mogadishu battles enter second day

Fighting has continued in Somalia for a second day, with a mortar shell hitting a residential area in the south of Mogadishu, the capital, residents say.

Mogadishu battles enter second day

Themortar attack on Friday morning comes after Ethiopian troops supporting theweak interim Somali government launched air attacks on armed groups,the first since the start of the year.

Oneresident, Qoje Omar Gesey, said of Thursday's aerial assault: "Twohelicopters flew over us. One was making a surveillance and the other one wasdropping several bombs."

He saidthe bombs fell near a former market in the northern part of the capital.

FaisalJamah, another resident, speaking after Friday's mortar attack, said:"There are a lot of wounded, but there is no way to take them to thehospitals due to the fighting on the roads."


BanKi-Moon, the UN secretary-general, has expressed concern over the use ofhelicopters to attack positions inside the city.

Ban is"particularly concerned about the use of air strikes and the introductionof tanks and heavy artillery into densely populated parts of the city, furtherincreasing the security threat to large numbers of civilians," Farhan Haq,a UN associate spokesman, said in New York.

Bancalled for an immediate halt to the fighting.

"Thesecretary general emphasises once again that sustainable peace in Somalia canonly be attained through an inclusive dialogue leading to a political solutionand national reconciliation," Haq said.

Dozens ofpeople were killed on Thursday, at least 11 of them civilians, and many morewere wounded.

Draggedthrough the streets

SevenEthiopian soldiers were said to have been killed, with witnesses in thesouthern district of Shirkole reporting the bodies of Ethiopian troops weredragged through the streets.

Loudspeakerstransmitted calls for residents to come out and fight the Ethiopian troops.

Thescenes echoed violence last week, when crowds burned the bodies of two deadSomali soldiers.

Thefighting on Thursday brought an end to a ceasefire agreement in place since theweekend.

ButMohamed Mohamud Husein, a spokesman for the Somali president, said the fightingmarked the beginning of a three-day push to restore order in Mogadishu, asEthiopian troops, who helped the Somali government oust Islamic Courts fighterslast year, withdraw from the capital.

InEthiopia, Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's prime minister, said that more thantwo-thirds of his forces had returned home, but gave no figures.

In aspeech to his country's parliament, he said "extremists" in Somaliawere no longer a "clear and present danger" to Ethiopia.

"Afterbreaking the backbone of extremist forces, our defence forces have started towithdraw," Zenawi said, adding that his government would continue totrain Somali security forces.

Butcontinued heavy fighting in Mogadishu is causing many residents to flee.

The UN'srefugee agency estimates 57,000 people have fled the Somali capital sincethe beginning of February, including more than 10,000 people who left in thepast week.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16