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Mogadishu Residents Say Mortar Attacks Kill Two


Witnesses in Somalia say gunmen have fired a barrage of mortar shells in the capital, Mogadishu, killing at least two people.

Residents say the two were killed Wednesday when a shell hit their home in the south of the city.

Witnesses also say shells landed at a hotel where government officials opened reconciliation talks earlier this week. It is not clear if anyone was hurt in that attack.

Tuesday, a mortar shell landed near the Somali presidential palace.

Residents of the capital have witnessed many acts of violence since the government drove out Islamist militias in December with the help of Ethiopian forces.

Meanwhile, Somalia's Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi has reshuffled his cabinet, firing several ministers.

The transitional government says the prime minister has removed the ministers of water and minerals, health, higher education and culture. The government accused some of the officials of failing to carry out their duties and misappropriating funds.

The reshuffle follows last month's replacement of the speaker of Somalia's parliament, who was fired after negotiating with the Islamist movement.

Somalia's government is trying to assert its authority over the country.

Islamist leaders have vowed to mount an Iraq-style insurgency against the government. Some violence also is believed to stem from rivalries between clans and warlords.

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

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