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Fighting Erupts in Mogadishu

Fighting has erupted in the Somali capital Mogadishu. Conflict began early Sunday morning after Islamic militia fighters attacked an enclave of rival militia who support secular warlord Abdi Hassan Awale Qeybdid. The Islamic Courts militia is attempting to exert control over the Medina district, which is a thoroughfare to the southern part of the state.

Mohamed Dore is a news editor of the Mogadishu based VOA affiliate RadioAfrik. He told Voice of America English to Africa reporter Douglas Mpuga that heavy fighting was concentrated in the south of Mogadishu.

“Heavy fighting erupted this morning, and is still going on, I can hear the sound of gunshots and mortar fire,” he said. “At least 15 people have been reported killed and over thirty one others injured in the fighting.”

Dore says Hassan Awale Abdi Qeybdid remained in Mogadishu for talks with the Islamic courts after the defeat of the other warlords who fled the city. He said that talks arranged by clan leaders failed, resulting in hostility. The talks collapsed last week amid serious disagreements on enforcing Sharia law.

Dore says, “Abdi Qeybdid had a militia force in the capital but he also has found support from his clan militias who are around the capital Mogadishu and some of them are very influential, it seems the fighting in Mogadishu has taken a clan dimension,” He said the militias of the second Prime Minister and those of the Minister of Interior are supporting Qeybdid’s militia because they are of the same clan. Officials of the Union of Islamic Courts have not yet issued a statement about the fighting.

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