Thousands of Somalis have demonstrated against the presence of the 2,700-strong African Union peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The demonstrators shouted out with AMISOM, while condemning the recent shelling of residential areas in south of the country’s capital Mogadishu.
On Sunday AU peacekeepers fired tank shells on residential areas in Mogadishu’s Dharkenley district, destroying several houses. The actions were an apparent response to an attack attack on Mogadishu’s Adden Adde airport by anti-government fighters.
The exact number of casualties from the shelling is yet unknown but some sources say around 100 may have lost their lives.
Thousands of civilians are fleeing the violence-wracked city following the attacks, Press TV correspondent in Somalia reported on Sunday. AMISOM has denied the incident.
Somalia’s anti-government fighters have recently intensified their campaign agasint the African Union – mainly from Uganda and Burundi – in what analysts say may be a tactic to discourage further foreign intervention.
AMISOM was deployed to Somalia in March 2007 to replace US-backed Ethiopian troops who invaded Somalia in an attempt to back the country’s Transitional Federal Government in year 2006.
Ethiopian forces failed to withdraw following the arrival of AMISOM and have been blamed for the deaths of thousands of civilian and countless human rights violations.
Violence in Somalia is now at its worst since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Violence and internal displacement have prompted aid groups to describe the situation as Africa’s worst humanitarian crisis.