Fighting in Mogadishu leaves at least 20 dead
Heavy fighting between government troops and Islamist insurgents in Somalia's capital has left at least 20 dead and dozens injured since Friday night, officials and residents said Saturday, dpa reported.
Somali insurgents are pushing to oust the weak Western-backed government, which is penned in to small areas of the capital Mogadishu.
Main rebel group al-Shabaab, which has links to al-Qaeda, attacked a government base in southern Mogadishu on Friday, triggering a battle that claimed the lives of combatants and civilians.
"The terrorist elements attacked our base, but our military forces repelled them," Colonel Mire Abdulle, an army commander, told the German Press Agency dpa. "Their dead bodies were strewn across the streets ... probably, we have inflicted heavy losses."
The body count from different sources, including residents and medical officials, came to twenty.
There has been a recent upsurge in fighting in the Horn of Africa nation, which has been embroiled in chaos since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
The current insurgency has claimed the lives of over 20,000 people since early 2007. Western security agencies have also warned that the Horn of Africa nation is becoming a haven for international terrorists.