4 die in escalating fightings in Somalia

4 die in escalating fightings in Somalia
# 28 August 2010 20:32 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. At least four people were killed and 10 others were wounded Saturday as the latest flare-up of violence rages for the sixth day between Somalia’s Islamist fighters and government forces backed by African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops, witnesses said, APA reports quoting news.xinhuanet.com website.

The Islamist fighters and AU troops fought over the main street in the government-controlled part of Mogadishu causing it to close to traffic and people, witnesses said.

Stray shells and bullets landed in the main Bakara market killing four people and wounding 10 others mostly traders and shoppers at the market, the only main one in the restive city. The market was largely closed for business.

Islamist group of Al Shabaab claimed advances in the latest clashes with government troops and allied militia saying they have taken over the main base of the pro-government Islamist faction of Ahlu Sunnah Waljama (ASWJ).

The spokesman for the Al Shabaab, Ali Mohamoud Rageh, told reporters in a press conference held in the base of ASWJ in Mogadishu that they will continue fighting until they topple the government and drive out the AU peacekeepers from the country.

Somali government officials have played down Al Shabaab’s claims of victory and accused the group of deliberately targeting civilians.

Meanwhile, an independent local FM radio station, IQK, which have been taken over by Al Shabaab this week after capturing an area where the station was located in the north of Mogadishu, is broadcasting massages in support of the group and calling for people to join "the holy war against the invaders."

The station belonged to a former Somali government information minister but has been independent before its seizure by Islamist fighters who now air continuous vocal-only Arabic songs and daily updates on the group’s fight against Somali government forces and AU troops.

The Islamist fighters announced an all-out war against Somali government troops and AU forces early in the week and have since been waging attacks on Somali government targets and positions of AU peacekeepers in Mogadishu.