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At least five people dead in Mogadishu clashes


At least five people, three of them civilians, were killed on Saturday after rival militiamen exchanged fire in the northern part of the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses said.

The fighting, on the beachfront of north Mogadishu, pitted militiamen of Somali warlord Musa Sudi Yalahow and those of little-known neighbourhood warlord Abdurahaman Mohamud Jimale "Shifti", the witnesses said.

Initial reports said three people had died and six had been wounded, but two of the wounded, both civilians, later died, raising the death toll to five.

The reason for the fighting, which has since subsided, was not immediately clear, but sources in north Mogadishu said it was triggered after Shifti decided to associate himself with the Somali National Transitional Government (TNG), rejected outright by Yalahow and other key warlords in Mogadishu.

The TNG was founded by a Somali peace conference in neighbouring Djibouti in August last year. It has enjoyed considerable support from the outside world, but in Somalia, it has not managed to extend its control beyond fiefdoms in and around Mogadishu.

Yalahow and Shifti both belong to the Da'ud sub-clan of larger Abgal clan that dominates north Mogadishu and the surrounding districts. During the fighting, Shifti fled his home, which is near the residence of Yalahow, witnessess said.

Shifti sought shelter at Hotel Ramadan, where most of the government ministers and parliamentarians of the TNG now live, the witnesses added.

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