113 die in Somalia in 3 days of violence

Associated Press / May 13, 2009
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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Fierce fighting in Somalia's capital has killed 113 civilians in the past three days and forced more than 27,000 to flee their homes, a human rights organization said yesterday.

Some 10,000 civilians fled their homes in Mogadishu yesterday alone, according to Ali Sheik Yasin Fadhaa of the independent Elman Human Rights Organization.

About 345 civilians have been wounded in what has become Mogadishu's worst violence in recent weeks, he said.

The organization gathered the figures from talking to hospitals, victims' relatives, and staff spread across the capital.

The renewed violence in the nation on the Horn of Africa is pitting pro-government fighters against those allied to al-Shabab, an insurgent group seeking to overthrow Somalia's Western-backed government and establish an Islamic state.

Over the weekend, both sides pounded the capital with mortars and machine-gunfire.

National Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden said the government would crack down on the insurgents, and said some of them were foreigners.

"They are anarchists," Aden told the Associated Press yesterday. "We will continue the fighting until we eliminate these elements."

Aden said 15 government fighters have been killed in the violence, and that civilian casualties could be high, though the government did not have any figures.

Among the insurgents, 19 foreigners - 12 Pakistanis and seven Yemenis - have also been killed, he said.