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Fighting erupts in Somali capital during new disarmament campaign, residents seek safety

Residents and officials in Mogadishu say that heavy fighting has broken out after government troops launched a dawn attack on a house belonging to a former warlord as part of a disarmament campaign.

Explosions and gunfire were heard in Mogadishu on Friday as troops battled militiamen loyal to the former warlord. A Somali intelligence official confirmed the operation but insisted on anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media.

Launched last week, the Somali government's disarmament campaign is an attempt to reduce the number of weapons in the violence-prone city. The government says some 500 guns were recovered during the first four operations. Friday's operation is the fifth.

Fatima Ali, a Mogadishu mother of four, said the battle sent everyone in her house to the ground for safety.