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Gunbattles in Somalia Kill 8


At least eight people have been killed and 26 wounded in gunbattles between security forces and insurgents in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

Police and army officials say the fighting began early Wednesday near the volatile Bakara market in south Mogadishu. Witnesses say the victims were mostly civilians.

In a separate incident, officials say a security officer was killed by two unidentified gunmen near his home in Mogadishu late Tuesday.

Violence that has raged since January has killed thousands of Somalis and forced hundreds of thousands more to flee Mogadishu for safer areas.

Islamist forces controlled Mogadishu for several months last year before being ousted by the government and allied Ethiopian troops.

A national reconciliation conference aimed at bringing peace to the war-ravaged country ended last week without much success.

Islamists boycotted the conference, as did many members of Mogadishu's dominant Hawiye clan.

Somalia has not had a stable central government since 1991.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.