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Fighting Continues in Somalia's Capital


Hundreds of residents of Somali's lawless capital are fleeing as militia groups battle for control of the city.

The death toll has risen to at least 133.

Witnesses say fighters have begun looting homes in Mogadishu in between intense fire fights.

Islamic militias and an alliance of warlords have been fighting for control (mainly in the northern Sii-Sii neighborhood) for the past six days.

Doctors say around 200 people, most of them civilians, have been wounded in the fighting.

A local journalist, Mohammed Dare, the general editor of VOA affiliate Hornafrik Radio In Mogadishu, told VOA that the city's main hospitals, which are run by the Red Cross, have become overcrowded. With no government hospitals in Mogadishu, he says many of the wounded have no place to go since they cannot afford the other hospitals.

The U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, Friday called on all parties to immediately stop fighting.

Somalia has been without an effective central government for 15 years and has long been viewed by Washington as a possible terrorist haven.

Many Somalis, including the interim president, Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed, say the warlord alliance has U.S. support, a belief that has fueled anti-American sentiment in Mogadishu.

U.S. officials say they are working with many Somalis to support the establishment of the interim government. But officials have declined to comment on any relationship with the warlords.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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