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Unrest Continues In Somalia

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The explosion of piracy off the coast of Somalia has been facilitated by the continuing insecurity and lawlessness back on shore. Violence in the capital, Mogadishu, continued Monday with a roadside explosion targeting government soldiers.

Local media reports say the explosion went off as Somali government soldiers searched for mines along the road leading to the president's residence in the capital, Mogadishu.

No deaths were reported, and no group claimed responsibility, but Islamist insurgents have engaged government troops and African Union peacekeepers in almost-daily clashes in Mogadishu.

At least 10 people were killed on Saturday and Sunday in fighting between insurgents and peacekeepers. On Saturday morning, insurgents fired several mortars at the Mogadishu port, where the peacekeepers were offloading supplies, provoking a firefight between the two sides that continued Sunday.

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The new Somali government, led by President Sharif Ahmed, a moderate Islamist and former insurgent leader, has called for negotiations with rebels. But on Sunday, Somalia's national security minister vowed to fight the insurgents, criticizing the presence of foreign Islamist fighters in the rebel ranks.

President Ahmed's government has international backing and commands considerable popularity among Somalis, both in the country and abroad. But the government controls little territory beyond a few blocks of the capital.

Islamist insurgents are led by the radical al-Shabab, which has ties to al-Qaida and controls much of southern Somalia, and the Islamic Party, a collection of other Islamist groups. The Islamic Party recently split into two factions. The other faction has joined an influential group of Islamic clerics in criticizing insurgent attacks in Mogadishu.

A leader of Somalia's dominant Hawiye clan, Mohamed Hassan Haad, also condemned the fighting.

He called for a return to peace in Mogadishu and urged the two sides to come to the negotiating table, saying discussion is still possible. He also urged the government to follow through on its pledge to implement Islamic law in the country.