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7 soldiers die in battle for Mogadishu

Sunday, July 10, 2011

At least seven Somali soldiers have been killed in bitter clashes between al-Shabab fighters and transitional government troops in Mogadishu.

The Somali soldiers lost their lives on Saturday when al-Shabab fighters attacked military bases of the transitional government troops in the vicinity of Ex-Control Afgoye Street in the southern outskirts of the Somali capital, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported.

Clashes broke out in the aftermath of the attack, with the two sides exchanging heavy gunfire and barrages of mortar shells. Scores of civilians sustained injuries as a result, the report added.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) in the world.

According to an annual account by Foreign Policy magazine, Somalia is number one on the Failed States Index.

An estimated 1.4 million Somalis are displaced within the country while another 680,000 live as refugees in neighboring countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The UNHCR reported in April that the number of Somali refugees arriving in neighboring countries during the first quarter of 2011 more than doubled in comparison to the same period in 2010