21/02/06 (B338-B) Combats extrêmements meurtriers depuis quatre jours à Mogadiscio entre les chefs de Guerre et des milices islamistes. (BBC en Anglais – Info lecteur)

Somali warlords battle Islamists

Mogadishu is controlled by thousands of gunmen

Clashes are going on for a fourth day in the heaviest fighting seen in the Somali capital for several years.

Supporters of some of the city’s militia leaders have clashed with an armed Islamist group which is trying to establish law and order.

Their opponents say the Islamic courts are terrorising local people. A top cleric says fighting will continue until the other side surrenders.

Many of the at least 15 deaths have been civilians hit by stray bullets.

A witness told AFP news agency on Tuesday that two people had died and 15 were wounded in a clash in southern Mogadishu’s Daynile district.

"The place is full of blood and it is very scary," he said.

Clashes between armed groups have been common in Somalia since former military leader Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991. The country has been without a functioning government since then.

Over the weekend, a group of MPs urged both sides to stop fighting.

The fighting pits a new group, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism, against the Islamic courts’ militia.

Hundreds of families have fled their homes around the former military academy.

Our correspondent says at least five warlords-cum-ministers in the transitional government are behind the new alliance, which is battling the Islamic courts.

The courts have set up Mogadishu’s only judicial system in parts of the capital but have been accused of links to al-Qaeda.

Their critics accuse the courts of being behind the killing of moderate Muslim scholars.

On 26 February, the country’s parliament is due to meet for the first time on home soil since it was formed in Kenya more than a year ago.