02/08/07 (B406) BBC / Des civils meurent dans les combats de Mogadiscio – De nombreux habitants continuent à fuir la capitable – Civilians die in Mogadishu battle (En Anglais – Info lectrice)

At least eight people have been killed during overnight gun battles between insurgents and government troops in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

A BBC correspondent said most of the dead are civilians whose houses were bombarded by mortars.

Insurgents attacked an army base that hosts Ethiopian and government troops sparking the half-hour long battle.

Islamists and other insurgents oppose the presence of Ethiopian troops who support Somalia’s interim government.

The BBC’s Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says many civilians were caught in the crossfire which left at least 20 of them seriously injured.

"A mother and two of her daughters were killed when mortars landed on their house during the fighting," Mohammed Deeq told Associated Press news agency.


Some 10,000 residents have fled Mogadishu in the past month following an increase of violence in the city since reconciliation talks began, according to the UN.

The UN has accused Ethiopia’s arch-rival, Eritrea, of arming insurgents and Islamists opposed to the interim government: a claim Eritrea denies.

A report by the UN says there are many more arms in Somalia than at any time since the civil war began in 1991.

Last December, the interim government, backed by Ethiopia, ousted the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), an Islamist group that had taken control of much of southern Somalia.

Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) representatives and MPs opposed to the transitional government led by the deputy Prime Minister Hussein Aideed, are planning parallel reconciliation talks in Asmara.