At least 26 civilians have been killed and more than 80 wounded in clashes between government troops backed by African Union peacekeepers and Al-Shabaab terrorists in Mogadishu on Wednesday, officials and witnesses said.
Reportedly, fighting begun early on Wednesday in the northern part of Mogadishu when Al-Shabaab launched attack on bases of the Somali government soldiers.
According to residents the fighting intensified in the afternoon after African Union tanks joined in. However, government officials did not provide any confirmation that AU forces were fighting alongside them.
Witnesses stated that in Jungal and Suq Ba’ad markets in Mogadishu 18 civilians died after mortars landed in those areas. “We have collected 17 dead civilians and 65 others wounded, we took them to various hospitals,”Ali Muse, the coordinator of ambulance services, said, adding that the death toll is likely to rise.
Somalia’s state minister for defence Sheikh Yusuf Mohammad Siad, said their troops have overpowered Al-Shabaab fighters. He also confirmed that some Al-Shabaab fighters had surrendered. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the terrorist group also claimed victory.
In a separate incident, two employees of a telecommunications company in Mogadishu have been beheaded byAl-Shabaab. They had been accused by the Al-Qaeda linked group of spying for the government.