At Least 20 Killed, Mostly Civilians, in AU’s Mogadishu Shelling

AU Extends Somali Mandate for Six More Months

At least 20 people were killed and 40 wounded, the vast majority of them civilians, when the African Union (AU) troops in Somalia responded to a mortar strike on the presidential palace with heavy shelling against a pair of residential neighborhoods in the insurgent controlled north of Mogadishu.

The AU forces have come under increasing criticism, even from insurgents, for their willingness to launch aerial assaults against densely populated regions outside of the self-proclaimed government’s control. And with the Somali government only controlling a handful of neighborhoods around the presidential palace, virtually all the densely populated regions are held by one insurgent faction or another.

The AU also announced that they have decided unanimously to renew their Somali “peacekeeping” force for an additional six months, calling for some nation other than Uganda and Burundi to step up and contribute troops to the ongoing war.

Reports have Djibouti looking to add a few hundred troops to the AU force, though at this point it is unclear what the group hopes to accomplish in propping up a government with little popular support and no practical sphere of influence.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.