and local officials held talks Monday in a bid to end four
days of sporadic gun battles and looting around the former
presidential residence in the capital, Mogadishu.
erupted between militiamen formerly in league with warlord
Hussein Mohamed Aidid and men still loyal to him, officials
said. The mutineers were complaining of a lack of pay, food
and medical care, according to the independent newspaper Qaran.
Sunday, heavy machine gun and assault rifle exchanges were
heard close to the residence, which Aidid has taken over.
said nearby buildings had been damaged. It was unclear whether
Aidid was in the residence, or if there had been casualties.
ago, the disgruntled militiamen looted the building and made
off with furniture, doors, windows and ammunition.
Mogadishu residents said the security situation in the capital
was deteriorating, with an increase in carjackings, burglaries
have been killed and at least seven others injured in crime-related
incidents over the last two days.
blamed the situation on the growing number of armed militiamen
roaming the streets.
have been paid by faction leaders, who now see their influence
waning as Somalis grow optimistic about peace talks in neighboring
has had no central government since 1991 opposition politicians
joined forces to oust President Mohamed Siad Barre.
then turned on each other, carving the country into militia-controlled
fiefdoms. But if the peace talks succeed, the warlords could
find their power eroded.
proposed by Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh, calls
on the warlords to turn their factions into political parties,
commit to a complete and verifiable disarmament, submit to
the primacy of law and respect the creation of a police force.
of faction leaders, including Aidid, have refused to participate
in the talks. But hundreds of religious leaders, politicians
and civilians have attended peace conference, which has been
ongoing since May 2.