Premier claims Somali 'victory'
April 26, 2007 8:08pm CST
Somali insurgents Hawiye clan fighters and Islamists are battling the government Ethiopian and government troops are in control of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, after nine days of battles, the prime minister says. Ali Mohamed Ghedi said the worst of the fighting against Islamists and clan gunmen was now over. Columns of tanks were deployed and reinforcements sent to Mogadishu from other parts of Somalia. Earlier, a BBC correspondent in the city said the battles were the heaviest in recent days, spreading to new areas. United Nations humanitarian relief co-ordinator John Holmes has described the situation in Somalia as critical. Ismail Mohamoud Hurre We have to bite the bullet Ismail Mohamoud Hurre Somali education minister Minister on fighting Clan divisions behind violence He said up to 400,000 people had fled Mogadishu but aid was reaching just 60,000. A doctor who runs one of Mogadishu's hospitals estimates that two-thirds of the city's one million residents had left. Some 300 people have been killed in the recent clashes after 1,000 deaths last month, local human rights group say. Mogadishu residents say government forces have taken control of some northern suburbs from the insurgents. "We hope to completely conclude the war tomorrow, and government forces will secure the capital," Mr Ghedi said. But some correspondents in Mogadishu have questioned Mr Ghedi's assessment - they say there are still reports of heavy fighting, and artillery and machine-gun fire can be heard across the city.