At least 68 people have lost their lives in fresh clashes across Somalia as violence continues to sweep across the East African nation.
In south Mogadishu, anti-Ethiopian groups detonated a landmine — as a 2,800-strong Ethiopian battalion left its base for Afgoy — killing at least 48 Ethiopian soldiers and injuring more than 52 others, Press TV correspondent in Somalia reported on Monday.
The Ethiopians reacted by opening heavy artillery fire on civilians, seriously injuring more than 23 people.
Meanwhile, an ambush attack on a military base in north Mogadishu located near a former pasta factory left at least five Ethiopian soldiers dead, prompting troops to open heavy gunfire, killing and injuring an unknown number of civilians.
In another incident on Monday, at least eight Somali government troops were killed and 20 others injured as they were attacked by unidentified gunmen while looting civilians near Hodon district. Three of the gunmen and six civilians were also injured.
The US-backed Ethiopian troops marched into Somalia in December 2006 to help the country’s interim government oust the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), who had taken control of large parts in south and central Somalia.
Conflict-torn Somalia, lacking a functioning government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, has seen thousands of people die in the unrest which has displaced thousands more.