From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Nov 06 2008 - 17:55:09 EST
Heavy Mogadishu battles threaten ceasefire in Somalia
6 Nov 6, 2008 - 9:59:01 AM
MOGADISHU, Somalia Nov 6 (Garowe Online) - Insurgents in Somalia attacked government and allied foreign forces on Thursday, a day after a ceasefire officially went into effect, Radio Garowe reported.
The Islamist al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for shelling Somali and Ethiopian army posts and engaging in street battles with soldiers, according to a spokesman for guerrilla group.
The fighting started around sunset local time in Mogadishu, the war-torn capital of Somalia, and continued into the night.
Witnesses said insurgents attacked Somali-Ethiopian soldiers manning checkpoints along a road that leads to Villa Somalia, the presidential compound.
The violence spread into surrounding districts of Hodan and Waberi with both sides using heavy weapons during combat.
Separately, Ethiopian troops stationed at north Mogadishu's ex-pasta factory were targeted with mortar shells.
The Ethiopian soldiers then deployed onto city streets in Huriwa district and battled the attackers, according to locals.
There was no reliable information on casualties, but witnesses reported seeing wounded civilians being transported to local medical centers.
The latest round of fighting comes a day after November 5, when a ceasefire signed between the Ethiopian-backed Somali interim government and an Islamist-led opposition coalition officially went effect.
Several Islamist groups, including al Shabaab, have rejected the peace deal and vowed to continue the anti-Ethiopia insurgency that has been raging in parts of Somalia for the past two years.
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