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Government Troops Patrol Mogadishu After Days of Fighting


Somali government troops and their Ethiopian allies are patrolling the streets of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, as the city remains quiet following days of heavy fighting with insurgents.

Reports from the capital say soldiers are searching vehicles for weapons at various places around the city Saturday. Some looting of homes and businesses was reported on Friday, but otherwise, the city remains calm.

Meanwhile, business owners in Mogadishu's largest market, Bakara, have agreed to work with government troops now that they appear to have regained control after nine days of intense fighting with the insurgents.

A local human rights group says about 400 people died in the fighting.

On Friday, African Union chairman Alpha Omar Konare said more peacekeepers are needed in Somalia's capital.

U.S. Congressman Donald Payne, chairman of the House Subcommittee on African and Global Health, echoed that call, saying Mogadishu could be "another Darfur in the making."

Ethiopian troops entered Somalia last year to help the interim government drive a rival Islamist movement from power. Insurgents began attacking government targets in January, soon after Islamist leaders vowed to continue fighting.