Five killed in Somali strife

MOGADISHU - Five people were killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu as joint Ethiopian-Somali forces continued their battle against an Islamist insurgency, witnesses said yesterday.

MOGADISHU - Five people were killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu as joint Ethiopian-Somali forces continued their battle against an Islamist insurgency, witnesses said yesterday.

Gunmen killed two civilians near Baraka market, one of the most volatile zones in Mogadishu, which has been wracked by violence since Ethiopian forces drove out Islamist militants who briefly took control of the city.

"The two men were sitting on a pavement when they were shot in their heads. No one knows why they were killed," said Ali Mohamed, an eyewitness.

Another person was killed near Bakara market when Ethiopian troops opened fire after they came under a grenade attack, said witness Bashir Kalif.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb targeting a Somali police patrol overnight killed two civilians in the Mogadishu neighbourhood of Medina. "The explosion killed two and wounded five others," said witness Mohamed Nur Waqa.

The Somali violence has resulted in Africa's worst humanitarian crisis with around a million people displaced in the country.

Bloody clan conflict and power struggles that erupted after the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre have scuppered numerous initiatives to restore national stability. - Sapa-AFP

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