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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 17:34 GMT
Mogadishu racked by clan fighting
Somalia has been at war since 1991
Calm is slowly returning to the streets of Mogadishu after two days of bloody clashes which left up to 27 people dead.

Fighting subsided after intervention by local elders, although sporadic shooting could still be heard, reports the French news agency, AFP.


We have achieved some progress

Mogadishu elder
A transitional government was set up in 2000 to end years of anarchy between clan-based militias but it only controls parts of the capital.

The clashes started on Monday between fighters loyal to Muse Sudi Yalahow and Omar Mahmud Mohamed, known as "Finish".

Hundred of families fled the south-west Medina district as fighting raged between gunmen using "battlewagons" - heavy machineguns mounted on trucks.

Some of the fleeing women reported numerous incidents of rape, according to Reuters news agency.

Ceasefire

The BBC's Faarah Ali Duurgubeh in Mogadishu says that one of those killed was a two year-old boy hit by a mortar shell.

In addition to the deaths, another 35 people were wounded, according to Dr Sheikhdoon Salad Elmi, director of the Medina hospital.

Prominent Mogadishu resident Mahmud Ali Ugas told AFP that he was trying to broker a ceasefire.

"We have achieved some progress. The goal is to gain a lasting peace in order to arrest the violence," he said.

The fighting died down on Monday evening, before flaring up again during the night.

The two warlords first clashed in December when Omar Mohamed signed a peace deal in Kenya with the transitional government.

See also:

26 Jan 02 | Africa
Somalia fighting 'leaves 50 dead'
11 Dec 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Somalis feel US squeeze
08 Nov 01 | Africa
Somali company 'not terrorist'
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