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09 Nov 2007 17:35
A bloody day of fighting on the streets of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, left at least 51 people dead in one of the goriest 24 hours the city has seen in months, residents and hospital sources said on Friday.
Ethiopian troops backing the fledgling Somali government fought insurgents in an up-close battle that saw at least 10 soldiers killed, with one shirtless body dragged through the streets of the violent city surrounded by cheering crowds.
Residents said the incident sparked outrage among the Ethiopians, who fanned out across the city in search of militias and began shooting civilians indiscriminately.
“We collected 12 bodies, mostly elderly people, women and children. They were shot by Ethiopians.
Some of them bled to death in the streets where they were left all night,” said Zakaria Adde, a resident of Hurwa district.
Officials at Medina hospital said at least 30 people were wounded in the fighting, but that number was likely to rise with more reports from the city’s clinics and medical centres.
Corpses and the wounded were strewn on the narrow streets of the capital, days after aid agency Médecins sans Frontières warned that the intensifying fighting was preventing medical help from reaching the injured.
“Body parts lay on the streets.
In ensuing battles in other corners of the city, mortar shells pounded houses in battles that raged on again on Friday morning.
A fresh two-week-old flare-up of fighting has displaced tens of thousands from the bullet-scarred capital, part of an already massive outpouring of civilians trying to flee the chaos that has reigned since Somali troops ousted a popular Islamist group at the New Year.
Two similar violent outbreaks earlier this year saw up to 1 300 slain.
The fragile transitional government—the 14th attempt at cementing central rule in Somalia—faced a new twist last week when Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi resigned over a feud with President Abdullahi Yusuf.
Anarchy has ruled Somalia since the 1991 toppling of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre by United States-backed warlords who carved the country into fiefdoms.—Sapa-dpa
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