Somalia Fighting Kills At Least Five, Journalist Shot Dead


At least five people were killed when a shell hit the minibus they were using to flee fighting in a town north west of the capital, as African Union and government soldiers intensify their fight against al Shabaab militants.
Earlier this week, African Union and Somali government troops stepped up their attacks on al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu's northern outskirts, forcing hundreds of families to flee their makeshift homes and head for the city centre.

An official in Mogadishu said those killed were hit by a shell in their van as they fled Lafole, 21 km (13 miles) northwest of Mogadishu, while nine others were wounded.
"A shell landed on a mini-bus fleeing from Lafole. Five died and nine others were wounded today," Ali Musa, coordinator of ambulance services, told reporters.
It was not clear who fired the shell.
The AU force, which already controls most of the capital, is trying to push its way through the Afgoye corridor, once a rural area northwest of Mogadishu but now home to hundreds of thousands of Somalis uprooted from their homes.
A spokesman for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said their forces were on the outskirts of Afgoye, but were holding off attacking to avoid civilian casualties and destroying property. He added that seven of their soldiers were wounded in fighting on Wednesday and Thursday.
"We met resistance at our base in Arbiska (22 km to the north east of Mogadishu). We will not be lured to fight among the civilians - we chased al Shabaab," Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda told reporters.
Residents said they saw AU and Somali government troops at Baar Ismail at the entrance of Afgoye - a strategic junction at the edge of the town.
They said hundreds of people had fled from Afgoye, Elasha and Lafole towns for a third day, while al Shabaab also fled to remote southern towns apart from a few fighters who remained to fight.
The Afgoye corridor, thought to house the largest concentration of internally displaced people in the world, stretches some 30 km northwest of Mogadishu to the al Shabaab stronghold of Afgoye.
News Source: Reuters

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