(AFP) – May 27, 2008
MOGADISHU (AFP) — The death toll from a fierce clash sparked by an Islamist insurgent attack on a Ugandan base in Mogadishu rose to 18 Tuesday, witnesses and officials told AFP.
Late Monday, a large group of insurgents attacked a major base in the Somali capital housing a Ugandan contingent of African Union (AU) peacekeepers.
According to initial reports, 11 civilians as well as two attackers were killed in the ensuing exchange of fire.
But four more bodies were discovered overnight in a nearby camp that was hit by a stray artillery shell during the clash, witnesses said.
Ali Farah, a medic at Mogadishu's Madina hospital, said that 21 wounded were brought in on Monday night and that one of them has since died of his wounds, bringing to 18 the number of people killed as a result of the attack.
Violence also rocked other parts of the Somali capital overnight.
The bodies of three young men who died of gunshot wounds were gathered in a mosque in Mogadishu's southern Madina neighbourhood, several local residents said.
Monday night's attack on the Ugandan compound was claimed by the Shebab, the military branch of the Islamist militia that seized control of large parts of the country in 2006.
Since the Islamists were ousted from Mogadishu by the Ethiopians in April 2007, their fighters have reverted to guerrilla warfare, targeting Somali government, African peacekeeping and Ethiopian forces almost daily.
According to international rights groups and aid agencies, at least 6,000 civilians have died in the fighting over the past year.
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