Witnesses: 2 bodies with gunshot wounds found in Somali capital – The Associated Press

May 28th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

MOGADISHU, Somalia: Two bodies with gunshot wounds were found Monday in Somalia’s capital following two explosions (more…)

MOGADISHU, Somalia: Two bodies with gunshot wounds were found Monday in Somalia’s capital following two explosions and a prolonged gunbattle overnight that shook the area in northern Mogadishu, witnesses said.

Government officials declined to comment on the overnight explosions and gunfire, but the witnesses said that at least one of the explosions was from suspected insurgents throwing an explosive device at a police station in the Huriwaa district. No police officers were reported injured.

The other explosion was near an Ethiopian army base and an hours-long gunbattle ensued, but it was not clear who was fighting who.

It was near the Ethiopian base where the two bodies in civilian clothes were seen, with gunshots in the back and in the chest, said Abdi Hashi Nour, a resident in the area. It was not clear if the bodies were civilians or suspected insurgents. Nour said that they were removed by police, who cordoned off the area.

“The fighting is not over in our district,” said another resident, Abdulkadir Shidane Ali. “There are bomb attacks every night on the bases of either government soldiers or the Ethiopians by unknown men and we pay the price because a curfew has been imposed. We face arbitrary arrests and are caught up in gunbattles.”

Government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon and the police commander of Huriwaa district, Col. Abdi Hassan, declined to comment.

Ethiopia reopened its embassy in Mogadishu on Sunday for the first time since the countries fought a war 30 years ago, strengthening the nations’ ties as Somalia tries to stave off an Islamic insurgency.

Somalia’s government has struggled to survive since forming with backing from the United Nations in 2004, and was sidelined by a radical Islamic group until Ethiopia’s military intervened Dec. 24 and turned the tide.

But insurgents linked to the Islamic group, known as the Council of Islamic Courts, have launched an Iraq-style guerrilla war, saying the government is allowing Ethiopia to “occupy” the country. The U.S. has long accused the group of having ties to al-Qaida, which the council denies.

Last month, the government declared victory over the insurgents, who want Somalia to become an Islamic state. Battles killed at least 1,670 people between March 12 and April 26. Months of violence drove about a fifth of Mogadishu’s 2 million residents to flee for safety since February.

The Council of Islamic Courts ruled much of southern Somalia for six quiet months in 2006 before being driven from power by Somali troops and their Ethiopian allies.

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