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At Least Seven Killed in Mogadishu Fighting

By VOA News
02 June 2009

At least seven people have been killed in new clashes between militant Islamists and pro-government forces in Somalia's capital.

The sides exchanged heavy gunfire in Mogadishu's Derkenley district Tuesday. Officials say government forces have gained control of at least part of the area, which hosts thousands of displaced Mogadishu residents.

Meanwhile, the international charity Oxfam says it is increasing aid to the hundreds of thousands of Somalis left homeless by years of internal violence.

The agency says it flew nine tons of aid into Mogadishu this week, including blankets, plastic sheeting for shelter, medical supplies, and buckets for carrying water.

Oxfam says 70,000 people have fled Mogadishu in the past few weeks, with many now living in Afgooye, south of the capital.

The agency's humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Hassan Noor, says living conditions in Afgooye are some of the worst she has ever seen.

Fighting in Mogadishu killed at least nine people Monday, including four police officers in a roadside bomb and five others in a battle over a police station.

Mogadishu has endured almost daily clashes since militant Islamist groups launched an offensive against government positions May 7. The government launched a counter-offensive ten days ago.

The fighting has killed more than 200 people.

The hardline Islamist groups, led by al-Shabab, are being aided by hundreds of foreign fighters. The groups want to topple the government and set up an Islamic state in Somalia.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.



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