SOMALIS FLEE violence

MOGADISHU - Thousands of residents have fled bomb-blasted parts of northern Mogadishu and a local rights group says 113 civilians have been killed this week in the Somali capital's heaviest fighting for months.

MOGADISHU - Thousands of residents have fled bomb-blasted parts of northern Mogadishu and a local rights group says 113 civilians have been killed this week in the Somali capital's heaviest fighting for months.

The Elman Peace and Human Rights Organisation said battles between hardline Islamist rebels from the al Shabaab group and pro-government forces had also wounded 330 people in the failed horn of Africa state since the end of last week. It said at least 27000 civilians had fled the city.

The bloodshed yesterday has caused splits in both heavily armed sides: there was a deadly clash on Monday between police and soldiers, then a rift broke out in the opposition after a veteran warlord stoked rivalries between two insurgent factions.

Yesterday's split came a day after six government troops were killed by police who said they clashed after catching the soldiers smuggling weapons to the insurgents.

On Monday, new Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed accused the rebels of working for unnamed foreign governments he said were determined to undermine his administration. - Reuters

X