[dehai-news] (Aljazeera) 'Ethiopian troops shell' Mogadishu

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Fri Dec 05 2008 - 09:46:04 EST

Friday, December 05, 2008
16:58 Mecca time, 13:58 GMT

'Ethiopian troops shell' Mogadishu

At least 16 people have been killed and dozens injured from suspected
shelling by Ethiopian troops in the north of Mogadishu, Somalia's capital,
witnesses say.

Residents said they believed Friday's shelling had been aimed at a
stronghold for anti-government fighters but instead fell on a crowded

Omar Mohamed, a Mogadishu resident, said: "A shell landed in the market
killing five women and two men.

"We are shocked and collecting their scattered flesh. I could see 10 injured

Halima Bare, another resident, said two mortar shells killed four people and
a baby in a restaurant and that she saw three more bodies at a bus stop.

There was no immediate comment from the Ethiopians.

Sheikh Abdirahim Isse Adow, the spokesman for the Islamic Courts Union
(ICU), said: "We have great sympathy for the innocent civilians who are
being killed."

The ICU, a group which had taken control of large areas of the country in
opposition to the interim government, was driven out of Mogadishu in 2006
when the government brought in Ethiopian forces to help them fight.

The ICU and several other anti-government groups and splinter groups still
remain in the Horn of Africa nation.

Pressure and urgency

Anti-government fighters, who now control most of southern Somalia, mount
daily attacks on the Western-backed government and its Ethiopian supporters.

Analysts say it will be hard for them to take control of Mogadishu while
heavily armed Ethiopian forces remain stationed there.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia has said its troops will withdraw from the country by
the end of 2008.

The announcement puts pressure on Somalia's interim government and adds
urgency to its long-standing request for international peacekeepers.

Fighting in Somalia has killed 10,000 civilians since early 2007, driven
more than a million from their homes and left more than three million
Somalis in need of emergency food aid.

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