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Somalia: Clashes leave at least 10 dead

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  • Fighting between government forces and insurgents in Mogadishu kills at least 10
  • Shell lands in an area crowded with people, killing a group of civilians
  • Women and children among the dead, according to witnesses
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MOGADISHU, Somalia (CNN) -- Fresh fighting between Ethiopian-backed government forces and Islamic insurgents in Somalia's capital city of Mogadishu reportedly killed at least 10 people Sunday, eyewitnesses said.


A man walks past the rubble of a building destroyed in Sunday's fighting

The two sides pounded each other with artillery, sending children scurrying and bringing business at the city's main market to a standstill.

"The fighting is so heavy and a barrage of mortar bombs is hitting many parts in Bakara market, killing people and causing heavy damages of buildings " said Ali Abdulkadir, a cloth trader at the city's main Bakara Market.

Hawo Abdi Oman, another eyewitness at the market, said a shell landed in an area crowded with people, killing nine civilians. Among the dead, she said, were two children and four women.

The market, a rebel stronghold, has been the site of numerous clashes since early last year.

In a nearby neighborhood, Geed Jaceyl, a shell landed on a house, crushing it. A woman who was inside was killed, witnesses said.

A second shell landed near a religious school, sending children running for cover. No one was injured in that incident.

The presence of Ethiopian troops trying to help defend a transitional government's hold on Mogadishu has united Islamic militant groups seeking to gain control of the city.

In 2006, the Islamic Courts Union -- a militia group -- ousted Somalia's transitional government from power. But the ICU was deposed in December of that year following Ethiopia's military invasion.

Since then, insurgent groups have been trying to destabilize the government.

Somalia's current transitional government is trying to maintain control of the capital, with the help of the better-equipped Ethiopian forces.

The violence has displaced more than 40,000 civilians who have taken shelter in dozens of makeshift settlements west of Mogadishu.

Somalia has been mired in chaos since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and sparked brutal clan infighting.

Sunday's fighting came a day after suspected insurgents killed a local reporter, who freelanced for the BBC and Reuters news agency. The national union of journalists in Somalia called the death of Nasteh Dahir Farah a "targeted assassination."

He was the 10th reporter killed in the war-torn nation since last year.

Farah, 36, was gunned down on his way home from work in the southern city of Kismayu, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists.

-- Journalist Mohamed Amiin Adow contributed to this report

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