African Union and Somali Forces Raid Mogadishu Suburb, 10 Dead

At least 10 people were killed during an intense battle when Somali and African Union forces raided houses in the capital searching for weapons, police officer Mohamed Hussein and a health care worker said.

“Five people were killed, mainly civilians were killed, and they were caught in the crossfire as the area was densely populated and more than seven others were injured,” Hussein said in an interview. Fadumo Mohamed Ali, a nurse at the city’s Medina Hospital, said five more people died while being treated.

While the government wrested control of Mogadishu from al-Shabaab Islamist militants in 2011, the city is the scene of frequent gun and grenade attacks and suicide bombings, including two raids this year on the presidential compound. Representatives from the UN Security Council visited the capital to check on political progress this week as the military prepared for the next phase of its offensive against al-Shabaab, according to an UN Mission in Somalia statement.

Ahmed Daci, a former district commissioner, said security personnel protecting his home in the Wadajir suburb of the city engaged in a gun battle to prevent the AU and government troops from entering.

The disarmament operation is facing elements of resistance, Hassan Mohamud, a retired army Colonel, said today by phone. The AU and government forces today used heavy equipment including tanks, said Hussein. “Clan militia believe that the disarming campaign is politically motivated,” he said.

The government said this month that check-points set up by the militants and “pockets” of conflict have hampered delivery of food aid in the country, where an UN assessment by an independent expert indicated that famine is looming.

Two calls to the mobile phones of Eloi Yao and Ali Aden Houmed, spokespeople for the African Union Mission in Somalia, seeking comment, didn’t connect.

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