25/08/08 (B462) Press TV / Les forces armées islamistes tuent 53 miliciens somaliens / UIC kill 53 clan militiamen in Somalia (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) says its fighters have killed 53 and wounded many more Marehan clan militiamen in southern Somalia.

Heavy fighting is going on in Jirme district of Afmadow town in the Lower Juba region of southern Somalia. The UIC and Al Shabab fighters killed more than 53 and wounded many more armed men from the Marehan clan. They also torched four military vehicles and seized several others, a Press TV correspondent reported on Sunday.

The leader of Marehan clan fighters was seriously wounded in the fighting and the continuing barrage of gunfire has forced hundreds of residents to flee the area, the report added.

Somali parliamentarians blame Islamist fighters for starting the recent spate of violence in the country, but the fighting was not triggered by religious motivations, the report noted.

Civilians have borne the heaviest brunt of the battles between Somali fighters and government forces. At least 6,000 have died in the past year alone, many in Mogadishu, the scene of almost daily attacks.

Somalia has lacked an effective government since the 1991 ouster of Siad Barre, sparking a deadly power struggle that has defied numerous bids to restore stability in the Horn of Africa nation.