Around 15 people are thought to have died in some of the worst violence in the Somali capital since the interim government took over in December. The bodies of several soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu before being kicked and burned, in scenes reminiscent of the way US Marines’ corpses were dishonoured in 1993. The bodies are believed to have been those of Somali officers and their Ethiopian allies.
Mogadishu has been the scene of almost daily violence since December when Somali forces backed by Ethiopian troops overthrew Islamist militants who had been ruling most of southern Somalia.
Ally Washington has reaffirmed its support. US envoy to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger: “We’re trying to assist the transitional federal government to establish security on the ground and that reflects the both day-to-day security as well as obviously ensuring that terrorists cannot exploit, cannot use Somalia as a safe haven,” he said.
There has been a dramatic surge in violence against government targets in recent weeks. Tens of thousands of people are thought to have fled the capital since February, raising doubts over government plans to hold a national reconciliation conference there next month.