April 3rd, 2010
08:09 AM ET

At least 20 civilians killed in Somalia clashes

At least 20 civilians were killed and dozens injured in clashes between Islamic militants and government forces in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, hospital officials said Saturday.

The fighting in several parts of the capital Friday left 62 people injured, according to Madina hospital officials.

In the northern Mogadishu neighborhood of Manbolyo, seven people believed to be from the same family were killed, hospital officials said.

Four people were killed in the southern neighborhood of Bakara, where the city's biggest market is located. Nine more people died on their way to the hospital, said Dr. Duniyo Ali, deputy director of Madina hospital.

Somali forces have been battling Al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda proxy in the country. The militants are waging a war against the government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or sharia.

The horn of Africa nation has not had a stable government since 1991, and fighting between the rebels and government troops has escalated the humanitarian crisis in the famine-ravaged country.

The U.N.-backed government fights the rebels with the help of African Union peacekeepers.

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