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Somali Human Rights Group Says 113 Dead After Fighting in Mogadishu

21 April 2007

A Somali human rights group says at least 113 people have died and more than 200 have been wounded in three days of fighting between insurgents and Ethiopian troops in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

The chairman of the Elman Human Rights Organization, Sudan Ali Ahmed, told reporters Friday the group is calling on both sides to stop fighting immediately and without precondition.

Residents said Ethiopian troops Friday launched artillery rounds from the presidential palace.

Ethiopian troops also have blocked off key roads after one of their bases in southern Mogadishu was attacked by a suspected suicide bomber on Thursday.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Friday for more world support for African Union peacekeepers in Somalia. He also asked the Security Council to consider whether U.N. troops are needed in Somalia.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) is calling on Somalia's warring parties to respect international conventions on aid to war victims, saying combatants are blocking delivery of humanitarian assistance. The transitional government denies deliberately blocking humanitarian aid.

The United Nations is urging the interim government to allow aid workers to help at least 100,000 Somalis in the neediest areas. The U.N. says that some 218,000 people have fled Mogadishu since February 1.

The capital has been wracked by violence since late last year, when Ethiopian troops helped Somalia's interim government drive a rival Islamist movement from power. Islamist and clan-based militias have since launched numerous attacks on government-related targets.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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