Accessibility links

5 Killed in Mogadishu Fighting

Witnesses in Somalia's capital say at least five civilians have been killed in new clashes between government troops and Islamist insurgents.

Fierce fighting broke out late Saturday in Mogadishu's Hodan and Holwadag neighborhoods. At least 17 people were wounded as the sides exchanged heavy mortar fire throughout the night.

Earlier Saturday, Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed called for a truce, saying he believes peace is attainable through dialogue.

Despite that appeal, militants later attacked a government checkpoint in Mogadishu, prompting clashes that killed another five people.

Heavy fighting in the Somali capital has killed more than 100 people since Thursday, many of them civilians.

Insurgents led by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab are trying to overthrow the government and set up an Islamic state.

The insurgents control much of southern Somalia, although pro-government forces recaptured two towns last week.

The government has the backing of the United States, which fears Somalia could become a haven for terrorists if al-Shabab seizes control.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.