Children die in Somalia shelling – BBC

December 18th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

At least 12 people have been killed as mortars landed in parts of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, witnesses say. (more…)

At least 12 people have been killed as mortars landed in parts of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, witnesses say.

A mother and her three children were among the dead, their neighbour said. Fifty people were wounded, doctors say.

The shelling follows clashes between Ethiopian-backed government forces and insurgents, in which two people died.

Ethiopia last week denied accusations it had shelled the busy Bakara market, killing 17 people, but correspondents say only Ethiopia has the capability.

“Mortars and heavy artillery shells rained down on our district and then the Ethiopians and the government forces moved in, where they set up new bases,” said Jolaal Ahmed, a resident of the north-eastern Suqa-holaha area.

Police spokesman Col Abdulahi Shasha denied that pro-government forces had carried out the shelling.

He said the troops were after insurgent fighters, who have been orchestrating daily attacks from the area.

Traders accused

Earlier, a shell landed on a restaurant in Bakara market, killing two people.

The BBC’s Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says the government has accused businessmen in the market of supporting the insurgents.

Ethiopia helped the government end the Union of Islamic Courts’ (UIC) six-month rule over large parts of southern Somalia, a year ago.

Ethiopia, and the US, accused the UIC of links to al-Qaeda but this was denied by UIC leaders.

After the relative stability of the UIC rule, Mogadishu has once again been turned into a battleground.

Some one million people have fled their homes, including 60% of Mogadishu’s population, the United Nations says.

Ethiopia says it wants to withdraw its troops, but only when they are replaced by peacekeepers.

So far only 1,600 Ugandan peacekeepers have been sent to Somalia, of a planned 8,000-strong force.

Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991.

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