15 Somalis dead as Islamist attacks spark fighting

January 29, 2010 15:05

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somali insurgents sparked the heaviest day of fighting in the capital in months Friday, launching simultaneous attacks on government forces and peacekeepers that killed at least 15 people, residents and a medical official said.

A spokesman for the Islamic insurgency said the early morning attacks on multiple government bases and African Union peacekeeping troops were a response to a plan for peacekeepers and the government to wrest back control of .

"The fighting was a response to the so-called government and the (African Union peacekeepers) trying to intimidate us by saying that they will take control of the whole capital," Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage said.

Friday's attacks come a few days before the first anniversary of President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed's government. At the time it was hoped that the election of Ahmed, a former Islamist, would drain support from the insurgency. But the weak and divided administration has not proved able to deliver either security or services to the population.

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