May 11, 2006

Almost 120 killed in Somalia fighting

NAIROBI (Reuters) - At least 20 people, including a
pregnant woman and her three children, were killed overnight in
the Somali capital, a militia leader said on Thursday, bringing
the death toll in five days of fighting to almost 120.

The third round of street battles this year between gunmen
allied to Islamic courts and militia from a self-styled
anti-terrorist alliance of powerful warlords erupted on Sunday.

It is the worst fighting in the capital of the failed Horn
of Africa state for several years.

"At least 20 people have died since last night," said Sayid
Mohamed, a militia leader linked to the Islamic side.

"Siisii has been turned into a battleground. So many houses
have been shelled and hundreds of residents are fleeing. It's a
catastrophe," he said.

Siisii is a shanty town in northern Mogadishu.

Mohamed said 50 people had been injured during the
overnight clashes and a pregnant woman and her three children
were killed when a mortar hit their house.

"The worst fighting took place last night in Siisii, it's
still going on. The death toll will definitely rise," he said.