Somalia: Nine civilians die in renewed shelling in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Oct 16, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Nine civilians were killed and more than fifteen others wounded after shells landed in residential areas in south Mogadishu after insurgents attacked bases of Somali government forces and the Ethiopian troops, witnesses and local media reports said Thursday.

Eight civilians, including four women, were killed and ten others were severely wounded after shells fired by Ethiopian troops hit Mogadishu's main Bakara market following a concerted attack carried out by insurgent fighters against different bases of the Ethiopian troops and Somali government forces in south of the Somali capital, local shabelle radio reported.

The fighting began shortly after another attack by the insurgent rebels against the African Union peacekeepers and Somali government forces stationed in and around the airport in Mogadishu subsided.

Witnesses said that one more civilian was killed and five others wounded when a stray shell landed near their home in K4 area in the south of the restive Somali capital Mogadishu.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack against the Ethiopian troops and the Somali government forces, but different insurgent groups were reportedly involved in the latest assault on government troops and the foreign forces backing them.

Islamist insurgents have been waging guerilla warfare against Somali government forces and Ethiopian troops as well as African Union peacekeepers since early 2007 when allied Ethiopian and Somali government forces ousted an Islamist administration that controlled south and central Somalia.

The latest series of attacks come hours after news emerged that Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told parliament that his government will keep its troops in Somalia until the planned 8,000- strong peacekeeping forces for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is fully deployed.

Only 3,400 soldiers from Uganda and Burundi are so far in the war-torn Horn of African country