Mortar kills Somali mother, 5 children
A mother and her five children were killed Sunday by a mortar round fired during fighting between Somali insurgents and Ethiopian troops.
Insurgents attacked bases of Ethiopian troops in the south of the capital with mortars and the Ethiopians fired back, with about 30 mortars fired in all, said Mostaf Abdi Ahmed, a neighbor of the family.
"An explosion rocked our neighborhood, then we came out and saw a shack partly on fire and a mother and her five children lying dead," he said.
Madey Sufi Mohamed, the husband and father who lost his family, said he had gone to a nearby shop when he heard an explosion and returned home to find his loved ones dead.
"It is really tragic, but there is nothing I can do about Allah's will," said Mohamed.
In another district in southern Mogadishu, the insurgents fought with government soldiers and also attacked an African Union peacekeeping force base.
"Our base ... was attacked, but fortunately our soldiers were alert and we managed to beat the attackers off. None of our soldiers were injured. We cannot tell whether any damage was inflicted on the attackers," said Capt. Paddy Ankunda, the African Union force's spokesman.
Ethiopian troops supporting the shaky transitional Somali government have been battling Islamic insurgents since they dislodged them from power this time last year. The insurgents had taken control of Mogadishu and much of the south of the country.
They launched an Iraq-style insurgency after their defeat by Ethiopian and Somali government forces, gathering support from Ethiopia's archenemy Eritrea. Thousands of Somalis have been killed by the fighting this year alone and the United Nations estimates that 1.5 million people need emergency aid.
The fighting is complicated by a web of clan royalties, and the impoverished nation, which is awash with weapons, hasn't had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other.
Fresh convoy of Ethiopians deployed in Somalia: Garowe Online
Meanwhile, a fresh convoy of Ethiopian troops entered the Somali border region of Hiran on Sunday, less than a week after Ethiopian forces were reported to have withdrawn from Galgadud region, sources told Garowe Online.
Ethiopian soldiers were seen in Jawil area, near the common border between Ethiopia and Somalia, according to villagers.
The exact number of soldiers or trucks could not be independently verified, but residents said these troops crossed over from the Ethiopian side of the border.
Mohamed Ahmed, a truck driver who travels along the border region, told Garowe Online that the Ethiopian soldiers were conducting search operations in the area.
Hiran Governor Yusuf Daboged said his administration is "well aware" of the arrival of this fresh contingent, and added that the troops are in the region to "help the Somali government" secure the country.
About 1,000 Ethiopian soldiers are stationed in the outskirts of Beletwein, the capital of Hiran.
Last week, Ethiopian forces withdrew from parts of Galgadud region, after a six-month stay.
Residents in the Galgadud town of Guri El said the Ethiopian soldiers forcefully lived in private homes and a local hospital during their stay.
Osman Isse Nur, the deputy governor of Galgadud, dismissed media reports that Islamic Courts fighters had taken control of Guri El following the Ethiopian pullout.
Mr. Nur said armed men seen in the outskirts of Guri El are not part of the Islamic Courts but are "regional troops."
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