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Authorities Collect, Bury Corpses in Mogadishu


Residents of Somalia's capital are collecting corpses that are still scattered on the streets after last week's fighting between insurgents and Ethiopian forces.

Medics and clan leaders began gathering up bodies Wednesday as a lull in the violence continued.

A top official with Somalia's doctor's association says infectious diseases could break out if the decaying bodies are not buried. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) says dead bodies do not generally pose a health hazard, unless they pollute sources of drinking water with human waste.

Aid organizations say last week's fighting was the worst violence to strike Mogadishu in 15 years. More than 380 civilians were killed.

On Tuesday, African, European and U.S. diplomats called for a full stop to fighting in Somalia. The diplomats were meeting in Cairo under the umbrella of the International Contact Group on Somalia.

International concern about the country is running high as the interim government struggles to establish authority in the capital.

Last week's fighting broke out when the government and its Ethiopian allies mounted an offensive against insurgents. The Ethiopian entered Somalia in December to help the government push a rival Islamist movement from power.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since 1991.

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