Mortar kills Somali mother, 5 children
( AP ) - A mother and her five children were killed Sunday by a mortar round fired during fighting between Somali insurgents and Ethiopian troops.
Insurgents attacked bases of Ethiopian troops in the south of the capital with mortars and the Ethiopians fired back, with about 30 mortars fired in all, said Mostaf Abdi Ahmed, a neighbor of the family.
"An explosion rocked our neighborhood, then we came out and saw a shack partly on fire and a mother and her five children lying dead," he said.
Madey Sufi Mohamed, the husband and father who lost his family, said he had gone to a nearby shop when he heard an explosion and returned home to find his loved ones dead.
"It is really tragic, but there is nothing I can do about Allah's will," said Mohamed.
In another district in southern Mogadishu, the insurgents fought with government soldiers and also attacked an African Union peacekeeping force base.
"Our base ... was attacked, but fortunately our soldiers were alert and we managed to beat the attackers off. None of our soldiers were injured. We cannot tell whether any damage was inflicted on the attackers," said Capt. Paddy Ankunda, the African Union force's spokesman.
Ethiopian troops supporting the shaky transitional Somali government have been battling Islamic insurgents since they dislodged them from power this time last year. The insurgents had taken control of Mogadishu and much of the south of the country.
They launched an Iraq-style insurgency after their defeat by Ethiopian and Somali government forces, gathering support from Ethiopia's archenemy Eritrea. Thousands of Somalis have been killed by the fighting this year alone and the United Nations estimates that 1.5 million people need emergency aid.
The fighting is complicated by a web of clan royalties, and the impoverished nation, which is awash with weapons, hasn't had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other.