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Somali Transitional Capital Calm After Clashes Leave 10 Dead


The temporary administrative capital of Somalia, Baidoa, is reported calm Saturday after clashes on Friday left at least 10 people dead.

Local media reports say hundreds of government troops have arrived in Baidoa to secure the city.

On Friday, gunbattles broke out between government troops and local clans in a dispute about checkpoints.

The clashes were unrelated to fighting between Islamists and warlords in Mogadishu, but highlighted the precarious situation of Somalia's transitional government.

The United Nations-backed government has not been able to assert authority in Somalia, which has been ruled mostly by clan-based warlords since the last central government fell in 1991.

On Monday, militias loyal to Islamic courts claimed control of Mogadishu after four months of battling with warlords. The fighting killed some 350 people.

Following the takeover of Mogadishu by the Islamists, the United States called an international meeting to discuss strategy for Somalia. The meeting is expected to take place next week in New York.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department said the meeting will likely include European and African governments and international organizations such as the United Nations.

The U.S. has said it is concerned Somalia could become a haven for al-Qaida terrorists.

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