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Security Chief Killed as Violence Escalates in Somalia
    2008-02-21 22:02:44     Xinhua

Seven people including the chief security officer in the southern Somali town of Afgooye were killed and 15 others wounded in separate clashes in Mogadishu involving Somali government troops backed by Ethiopian forces and insurgents, witnesses and local media reports said Thursday.

"Five people died after the insurgents clashed with government troops in Suuqa Hoolaha neighborhood," Jamal Kulmiye, an eyewitness said.

Nine other civilians including three from a single family were wounded by stray bullets and shells from the fighting in the southeastern district of Huruwaa in the coastal city of Mogadishu.

Abdurrahman Addo, local security chief, was shot dead by men armed with pistols in the southern Somali town of Afgooye in Lower Shabelle region, 30 km southwest of the Somali capital, Shabelle Radio in Mogadishu reported.

The gunmen escaped after killing the officer who came out a security meeting with the local security council, Shabelle added.

Two government soldiers were also killed and three others were wounded after a government security post was attacked by insurgents in southern Mogadishu neighborhood of African village, witnesses said.

In the volatile Bakara Market, the largest in Somalia, three people were wounded inside the market as government troops fired warning shots as they reentered the market which government officials say is a hideout for insurgents, a charge vehemently denied by traders at the market.

Somali government officials, who do not usually speak with the media, were not available for comment but a police commander who sought anonymity confirmed the causality figures on the government side.

Mogadishu has been the scene of violent confrontation between Somali government troops backed by Ethiopian forces and Islamist insurgents opposed to the presence of Ethiopian troops and government policies.

Joint Somali government troops and Ethiopian forces ousted an Islamist movement that had been in control in much of southern and central Somalia in late 2006 but insurgents have since been waging guerilla war against government troops and officials and the Ethiopian forces backing the government.

 
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