Mogadishu fighting kills at least 9 Somalis

January 22, 2012 13:38

MOGADISHU - Somali militants firing vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft guns clashed with African Union forces for a second night in Mogadishu, killing at least nine people including women and children, an ambulance official said on Sunday.

African Union (AU) troops launched a new offensive against al Shabaab on Friday, seizing rebel positions just outside the capital for the first time.

The insurgents, however, have launched counter attacks.

On Saturday night they struck a government military checkpoint known as 'Ex-control' in a northwest suburb of the coastal city. Soldiers with the AU's AMISOM force repelled the assault, an AMISOM spokesman said.

Caught in the crossfire were Somalis seeking refuge in camps for displaced people, victims already of the anarchic country's two-decade civil war, or famine.

"At least nine displaced people, mostly women and children died in the camps near the former American embassy on Friday and Saturday night," Ali Musa, coordinator of the city's ambulance services, told Reuters.

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