At least seventeen dead after clashes in Somalia

Friday, February 12, 2010

According to reports, at least seventeen people have been killed in Somalia after clashes between opposition rebels and government troops, although some reports put the number as high as 24. 61 others were wounded.

The violence started Wednesday in the capital, Mogadishu, when Islamist rebels started firing at the Villa Somalia, the presidential palace; guards from the African Union responded by firing mortars. According to Al Jazeera news agency, the rebels were stationed in the busy Bakara market.

"We admitted 61 wounded people from yesterday's shelling. Three of them died inside the hospital during treatment," commented a doctor at the Medina Hospital to the the German Press Agency DPA.

"The death toll may rise because we have not yet reached some of the districts where shells also landed," said the coordinator of the Mogadishu ambulance service, Ali Muse, to the Reuters news agency.

Thousands of residents are said to have fled the capital this week, fearing more violence between the rebels and the transitional government; the former are in control of many parts of the capital.