Somali officials say at least two policemen are dead following a late-night raid by insurgents on a southern Mogadishu police station.

Islamist fighters briefly seized control of the station in the Waberi area late Thursday, burning a police vehicle before retreating.

Witnesses and officials say two officers and five insurgents died in the raid, and that police captured three of the attackers.

Islamist spokesman Abdirahim Issa Adow gives a different account, saying the attackers killed eight police and suffered only one fatality.

Islamist insurgents have carried out increasingly bold attacks against the Somali government and its Ethiopian allies in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, at least 17 people were killed when Islamists ambushed Ethiopian convoys in the Hiran and Lower Shabelle regions.

In both incidents, witnesses say Ethiopian troops deliberately killed civilians after the initial attack.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International accused Ethiopian troops of committing war atrocities in Somalia. The Ethiopian government rejected the allegations and demanded an apology.

Ethiopia has several thousand troops in Somalia to support the transitional government. The government has struggled to assert control over the country in the face of the Islamist-led insurgency and bitter clan rivalries.

Islamist leaders and government officials are scheduled to hold peace talks Saturday in Djibouti.

An Islamist movement controlled Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia in 2006 before being ousted by the government and Ethiopian forces.


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