Shelling kills 16 in Somali capital

By Xinhua,

Mogadishu : Sixteen people were killed and more than 20 others wounded Friday when artillery shells hit several areas in northeastern part of the Somali capital, witnesses and health officials said.

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Witnesses said the shells hit a number of areas, including a packed marketplace in the Suqa Holaha neighbourhood in northeastern Mogadishu. They said Ethiopian troops based in the area fired the shells.

“Six women were among those killed in the marketplace,” an eyewitness, Abdelfitah Wehliye, said.

Ten others were killed when several artillery shells landed in crowded areas of the Suqa Holaha district of Mogadishu.

Hospital sources said that they have received 20 injured people and the number could increase as many are still in critical conditions.

It was not immediately known what provoked the shelling, but local insurgent groups who usually claim responsibility after similar attacks against Ethiopian troops denied their involvement.

Neither the Ethiopian military nor Somali government officials were available for comment on the incident.

Ethiopia had sent its troops to Somalia two years ago to help the transitional government there. Recently, it had announced to withdraw its forces from Somalia by the end of this year, but later postponed it after the African Union urged the Ethiopian government to delay the pull out.