Somalia’s al-Qa’ida-inspired Shebab rebels have attacked the presidential palace in Mogadishu, sparking a battle that left at least 14 civilians dead.
Government forces backed by African Union troops retaliated yesterday to fend off the Islamist insurgents, whose offensive against the presidential compound came as President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed attended a peace conference in Turkey.
The Shebab fighters launched their main attack on the northern Shibis and Bondhere neighbourhoods of the capital late on Saturday. The battle resumed at dawn yesterday.
“The number of civilians killed during the clashes overnight has reached 11 and it could be higher, because the violent militants using mortars attacked several other positions in southern Mogadishu,” said Mohammed Ali Idle, a Somali government security official.