A fire at the main market in the Somali capital destroyed property worth millions of dollars and one person died in the subsequent looting spree, shopkeepers said Wednesday.
Abdikarim Abdullahi Gabeyre, chairman of Mogadishu's business community, said merchants were still assessing, but it was already clear they had "lost property worth of millions of dollars in the blaze."
The cause of the fire, which raged until midnight on Tuesday, is still unknown. But the chairman of Mogadishu's women traders' union, Asha Sha'ur Ugas, said gunfire may have ignited flammable materials.
The market is the scene of frequent skirmishes between government forces and insurgents and businessmen often accuse soldiers and policemen searching for arms of looting.