Violence in the Somali capital of Mogadishu today killed at least 21 civilians and two government soldiers, and left scores injured. The bulk of the civilian toll came, as it so often does in Mogadishu, with AU shelling against a densely populated residential area.
The first attack involved a bombing attack against a government convoy, which left two government soldiers and four civilians dead. Another civilian was reported to have died of injuries related to a mortar attack on the airport.
The African Union forces responded by shelling a residential neighborhood near the city’s main marketplace, killing at least 16 and wounding 55 others. The head of the city’s ambulance service was highly critical of the AU attack.
“It was indiscriminate shelling,” he noted, adding it was the worst such incident in months. The Somali government confirmed the shelling but declined to offer any details about why the neighborhood was targeted.
But AU troops have regularly shelled the area around the Bakara market, one of the most populace in the city, in “retaliation” after insurgent attacks. The AU has in the past claimed that any areas outside government control are fair game for shelling, but as the self-proclaimed Somali government controls only a few city blocks near the presidential palace this has placed the vast majority of the Somali populace directly in the crosshairs.