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At Least 17 Killed in Mogadishu Violence

A body is loaded onto the flatbed of a truck by relatives at Medina hospital, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Jan. 31, 2011.

Witnesses in the Somali capital Mogadishu say at least 17 people were killed and more than 30 others wounded in violence Monday - but there are conflicting reports about the circumstances.

Medics and witnesses told VOA's Somali Service that Somali government soldiers opened fire on eachother outside a local hospital. They say the dispute was linked to the shooting of a police officer by the hospital's armed guards.

Other reports say a government soldier accidentally fired a gun into a crowd.

Most of those hit were civilians. The wounded were taken to Mogadishu's Madina hospital.

Meanwhile, Somali insurgent group al-Shabab has executed a man it accused of spying for U.S. intelligence.

An al-Shabab official says 44-year-old Ahmed Ali Hussein was killed by a firing squad in Mogadishu on Sunday.

Somalia's capital has endured years of violence and chaos, as insurgents try to overthrow the U.N.-backed Somali government.

The government controls only portions of the capital with the help of African Union peacekeepers.

Al-Shabab has carried out other executions in the past, in addition to whippings and amputations, as it tries to enforce its strict view of Islamic law.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.