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Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 - 5:11:05 AM
Africa
Somalia's neighbors vote to send 2,000 more peacekeepers to Mogadishu

The heads of states from the East African bloc IGAD (the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) are converging in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to discuss the crisis in war-torn Somalia.

Somalia’s embattled president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed led a delegation from Mogadishu to attend the meeting which will entirely focus on his fragile government.

“President Sharif will discuss with heads of states from IGAD member states on how they can assist his government to restore law and order, because if the ongoing fighting in Somalia continues, it would affect the entire region,” said a statement from his office.

Somali President Sharif has told IGAD leaders that the presidential palace Villa Somalia "is surrounded by Al Qaeda and its allies." He urged IGAD countries to "save the government" in Mogadishu, according to reports.

Emerging reports say IGAD countries have voted to send 2,000 more peacekeepers to reinforce the 6,000-strong African Union force in Mogadishu.

Ethiopia is hosting the meeting as a chair of the regional body which brings together apart from Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Sudan and Eritrea. 

The meeting comes as violence gripped the Somali capital for a fifth consecutive day. Clashes between hard-line Islamists insurgents and pro-government forces in Mogadishu killed scores of people, mainly civilians.

President Sharif led his forces in battle with insurgents to mark the country’s 50th Independence anniversary on Wednesday.

On Sunday, at least 10 people have been killed after the two sides resumed fighting over northern Mogadishu districts. Separately, at least 6 fighters were killed in Mogadishu's Hamar-jadid area after fighting erupted between Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam factions.

There is "military tensions" around the area and Bakara Market was closed on Monday due to fear of clashes among the rebel groups, Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam.

Both sides traded blames on who initiated the fighting that has only claimed the lives of innocent civilians.

Separately, five people were killed and three others injured when a roadside exploded in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne neighbourhood.

The blast was targeted on vehicle carrying Director of Finance Ministry Ahmed Yaqshid. Two of his security guards and three civilians were among the dead.

The Horn of African nation has been ravaged by years of anarchy and lawlessness that erupted after the ouster of the regime of President Mohammed Siad Bare in 1991.

GAROWE ONLINE

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