Accessibility links

Somali Insurgents Briefly Seize Town, Kill 7

Witnesses in Somalia say fighting between Islamist insurgents and government troops has killed at least seven people, including a small child, in the southern town of Jowhar.

Residents say the insurgents seized control of the town, north of the capital Mogadishu, early Wednesday, after a brief battle with government forces. They say at least four Somali soldiers were among the dead in Jowhar.

Witnesses say the insurgents also released prisoners from the town's central jail before withdrawing from the town.

The interim Somali government and its Ethiopian backers have been battling an Islamist insurgency for more than a year.

The fighting has killed thousands of people in Mogadishu alone and forced at least a half-million others to flee the city.

The insurgency began after a joint Somali-Ethiopian offensive drove a militant Islamist movement from power in southern Somalia in late 2006.

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