Rights Group: Rebels Have Killed 682 in Somalia Over Past Year

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Gunmen have killed 682 civilians, including a foreign journalist, in executions over the past year in Somalia, a local rights group said Sunday.

The killings took place largely in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Some came during battles for control of the city, others were due to clan differences, a few were kidnappings and some were for unknown motives, according to the report by the Dr. Ismael Jumale Human Rights Center.

Those killings included the June slaying of Swedish journalist Martin Adler as he filmed a protest in Mogadishu. An unidentified gunman shot Adler in the back.

The report said combatants killed 400 civilians and injured 1,500 during sporadic fighting since February between Islamic militiamen and secular warlords for the control of Mogadishu.

Somalia has not had an effective central government for 15 years since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other.

The Islamic militiamen, loyal to a network of Islamic courts in Mogadishu, seized control of Mogadishu in June and have since consolidated control over most of southern Somalia.

The U.S. has accused the Islamic militia of harboring Al Qaeda leaders responsible for deadly 1998 bombings at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S. backed the secular warlords in their fight against the Islamic militia.

About 20 women reported being raped by militiamen, the report said. Seventeen kidnapped civilians were slain after demands for ransom were not met.

The report covered human rights violations from July 22, 2005, to July 20, 2006. It urged Somalia's Islamic courts "to restore law and order, to rebuild all necessary judicial institutions and to form a regional administration."