MOGADISHU, Somalia – Rival Islamist groups clashed in Somalia's capital Sunday, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens in renewed fighting in the seaside city, witnesses and hospital officials said.
The fighting is the latest in days of increasing violence in Mogadishu. Abdinasir Ali, a resident of the capital, said he saw six bodies from the same family Sunday morning. They were killed when a mortar shell hit their house.
Four others were killed in a nearby house and a tea shop, witnesses said.
Medina hospital official Dahir Mohamed Mohamud said 60 people have been admitted this weekend.
The fighting pitted pro-government Islamist militias against those allied to al-Shabab, an insurgent group that wants to topple the Western-backed government.
Somalia, an impoverished country in the Horn of Africa, has been in chaos since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Rival clans then turned on each other. In recent years, piracy has exploded off the lawless coast.
The U.S. worries that Somalia could be a terrorist breeding ground, particularly since Usama bin Laden declared his support for al-Shabab. It accuses al-Shabab of harboring the Al Qaeda-linked terrorists who allegedly blew up the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
At a conference last month in Brussels, President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed pledged to do "everything imaginable" to stabilize Somalia.
Ahmed, elected by parliament in January, is a former fighter with the Islamic insurgency. He has been trying to broker peace with warring groups and gain legitimacy, but his administration wields little control outside Mogadishu, and needs help from African peacekeepers to do even that.
Fighters opposed to his government see the 4,350 AU peacekeepers as "foreign invaders" and obstacles to peace.