At least nine Somali civilians have been killed in the crossfire between African Union peacekeepers and Somali fighters in Mogadishu.
The incident happened on Friday, after the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) engaged with al-Shabaab fighters near Mogadishu’s Aden Adde airport.
Mogadishu’s main airport was shut down Tuesday by al-Shabaab fighters who believe it was being used as an instrument by occupying Ethiopian forces.
Al-Shabaab says Ethiopian and Ugandan contingents use the airport to transfer their injured soldiers. The fighters also claim that the airport’s revenue was being spent on Ethiopian troops who were controlling the place.
Earlier in the day, 6 soldiers were killed and more than 10 were injured in clashes in the international airport and the nearby neighborhoods, a Press TV correspondent reported.
AMISOM, meanwhile, said the closure had amounted to ‘clear sanctions’ against the peacekeepers. The mission added that AMISOM forces had been denied the much-needed supplies which used to be brought in to them via the airport.
Over the past 4 days, the fighters had barred 25 flights bringing in food and medicine for soldiers belonging to Ugandan and Burundi contingents, AMISOM said.
The peacekeepers noted that they had contacted the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Adis Ababa urging immediate resumption of the flights as the troops were struggling with starvation in the absence of any aerial or naval conveyance of their basic requirements.
The organization, however, is said to have categorically refused to dispatch the cargoes saying that, last year, the fighters had heavily damaged two cargo planes the AU had leased from Belarus.