Protestors vent fury in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU - Hundreds of furious protesters crowded the streets of Mogadishu, burning tyres, smashing car windows and shouting that they will not give up their guns despite the government's call for total disarmament.

MOGADISHU - Hundreds of furious protesters crowded the streets of Mogadishu, burning tyres, smashing car windows and shouting that they will not give up their guns despite the government's call for total disarmament.

At least two people were killed, including a 13-year-old boy, hospital officials said.

The violence on Saturday exposed deep unrest in a city that is seeing its first legitimate governing force in more than a decade.

Somali troops, backed by powerful Ethiopian soldiers and weapons, drove out a radical Islamic group last week that had been in control for six months.

Later on Saturday, an unidentified man exploded a grenade in a private residence in the capital, injuring three people, said Abdi Abdullahi Ga'al, a witness. The reason for the attack was unclear.

One of the protesters in the street, Haeyle Abdulle Hussein, 23, said: "We are protesting against the disarmament and the Ethiopian presence in the country.

"We cannot accept disarmament under occupation. We will wage a holy war instead."

It was not immediately clear what prompted the deadly violence or who was responsible.

A 13-year-old boy was killed by gunfire and at least 17 people suffered bullet wounds, according to Dr Dahir Mohamud of the city's Medina Hospital.

An Ethiopian soldier was also killed when his hand grenade accidentally went off, said a nurse at the hospital who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals.

Many in predominantly Muslim Somalia resent the presence of troops from Ethiopia, a largely Christian country. The countries have fought two brutal wars, the last in 1977.

Shopkeepers closed their businesses and public buses stopped running along Mogadishu's crumbling streets as gunfire crackled all day on Saturday.

The government announced earlier in the day that it was postponing plans to forcibly disarm the city - an operation that was meant to begin Friday but never did. - Sapa-AP

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