21 people killed in clashes in Mogadishu

Muslim rebels battle with Somalia's ruling government forces in the capital

Published April 12, 2010 5:57PM (EDT)

Fighting between the Somali government and Islamist insurgents killed 21 people in the Somali capital on Monday, said medical workers and witnesses.

Fourteen people were killed in the north of the city near the main market in the capital, said head of Mogadishu's ambulance service, Ali Muse.

Resident Abdi Mohamed Aden said insurgents had shelled a military ceremony in the capital and then government forces had returned fire at insurgents operating from residential areas.

The president, the prime minister, the parliament speaker, the country's chief of staff, the police chief and other senior government officials were attending the ceremony during the shelling.

A mortar killed a student and injured six others near the airport, said eyewitness Haji Dahir Igale.

"The first explosion targeted the convoy, killing two government soldiers, afterward local residents and some other government officials rushed to the scene to help the injured as they gathered the second explosion went off, killing four civilians and five others were injured," said resident Hussein Abdulahi.

The weak U.N.-backed Somali government is battling an Islamist insurgency. The impoverished Horn of Africa country has not had a functioning government for nearly 20 years.

By Mohamed Olad Hassan

By Mohamed Sheikh Nor

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Africa Somalia