MOGADISHU – Somali Islamist rebels pushed towards the presidential palace late on Tuesday but were repelled by heavy shelling by government troops,
An army officer said on Wednesday. More than 80 people have been killed in the latest escalation of violence in the capital Mogadishu, which began on
Monday when the al Shabaab group vowed to intensify its holy war against the fragile government. The al Qaeda-linked militants said they were behind A Shooting rampage in a hotel on Tuesday that killed at least 33 people including members of parliament. one military officer said the insurgents attacked
Government troops based near Villa Somalia, the presidential palace, in large numbers but were outgunned by the African Union’s (AU) AMISOM peacekeeping force.
They came close tonight but behind us are AMISOM tanks and at last we drove them away,” army officer Issa Ali, who had been fighting in the frontline overnight, told Reuters.
Residents said bursts of automatic gunfire and the thuds of mortars could still be heard early on Wednesday morning. At least 83 people have died in the last three days, including those in the hotel blast,
and 163 others were wounded,” Ali Muse, the coordinator of ambulance service, told Reuters. Tuesday night’s fighting was centred on the governmentcontrolled neighbourhoods of Hodan and Wardhiglry.
Al Shabaab and a second militant group, Hizbul Islam, control much of the capital, hemming President Sheikh Sharif’s beleaguered government into just a few blocks. The AU’s peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi
Concentrate their efforts on shielding the president and guarding the port and airport. tuesday’s attack on the Muna hotel is likely to be a prelude to more fighting. More al Shabaab will die in an effort to capture
the palace and African Union bases,” Mohamed Rage, a history lecturer in Mogadishu, told Reuters. he said government troops were defecting everyday, providing al Shabaab with army fatigues and leaking intelligence, underlining the challenge facing the security forces as they fight to win back lost ground.