Somalia: Ten die as renewed fighting escalates in Mogadishu

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MOGADISHU, Nov 07, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Ten people were killed including three Ethiopian soldiers and 16 others were wounded as Islamist insurgent fighters carried out a number of concerted attacks on military bases of Somali government forces and Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, two days after a ceasefire agreement was supposed to come into effect, witnesses and hospital sources said.

"Three people in our neighborhood died when a shell landed on their home," Ahmed Omarey, an eyewitness in Mogadishu's main Bakara market told Xinhua. "There were also five more people who were wounded in the same house".

Two Somali government soldiers were killed and three others wounded after their vehicle run into a remote-controlled landmine in the south of the Somali capital, local media reports quoted witnesses as saying.

Two civilians died after the soldiers opened fire following the explosion that hit the Somali government military vehicle.

Insurgents also carried attacks on bases of Somali government forces and their Ethiopian allies in south of Mogadishu while the Ethiopian and Somali troops responded with heavy artillery fire that landed in different residential areas in the coastal city particularly in and around the volatile Bakara market.

The attacks come as the restive Somali capital and the surrounding regions witnessed relative calmness in recent days.

Three dead Ethiopian troops were reportedly seen laying in one of the northeastern neighborhoods of the city where they are based. The troops were killed after they tried to pursue insurgent fighters who attacked their bases, witnesses said.

Hospital sources said that four injured civilians have been brought to them but they expect more as people are having difficulty getting to health posts during the night when most streets are blocked.

Neither the Somali transitional government nor the opposition faction that signed the peace deal with the government commented on the latest escalation in violence.

The attacks, claimed by the Islamist Al-Shabaab group which has not been part of a peace deal with the transitional government, comes two days after a ceasefire agreement was supposed to come into force in Somalia.

The spokesman of the Al-Shabaab said that two of his fighters were wounded in the fighting.

The group said they will not enter into an agreement with the Somali transitional government which they consider an "apostate government" and vowed to continue to fight its officials and troops, their Ethiopian allies and African Union forces whom they see as occupying forces.