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Gunmen Kill Mogadishu Official; Ethiopian Troops Attacked

Gunmen have killed a Mogadishu city official and attacked Ethiopian troops in the latest violence to hit the Somali capital.

Witnesses say two men with pistols shot and killed a north Mogadishu district commissioner, Abokar Hussein Bandas, as he walked toward his office early Thursday. Police sealed off the area and began a search.

Overnight, insurgents attacked Ethiopian army bases at three locations in the city, sparking brief but intense gunbattles. Witnesses say at least one person was killed.

A group calling itself the Mujahideen Youth Movement claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The flare-up occurred one day after the government postponed a national reconciliation conference for the third time.

The conference chairman said many groups have not yet chosen their delegates for the conference, and said the venue for the meeting is not ready.

The proposed conference is aimed at uniting Somalia's many factions and clans and bringing peace to the mostly lawless nation.

Ethiopian troops entered Somalia last year to help the interim government fight off a rival Islamist movement.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

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