Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 15:24 UK

Clerics killed in Somali mosque

Man in hospital
The injured are now being taken to hospitals

The bodies of 10 people have been found in a mosque in the Somali capital, after two days of clashes between Ethiopian troops and insurgents.

Local residents blame the killings on the Ethiopians, who are backing the government against Islamist fighters.

Six of the dead are religious leaders from the Tabliq Sufi sect, which is not involved in the conflict.

Some 70 people were killed over the weekend, local residents say. Sporadic shooting can still be heard.

Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein says the government was defending itself during the weekend clashes.

But locals accused the Ethiopians of shelling the residential areas of Hurwa and Yaqshid in north-eastern Mogadishu, after they came under attack.


Aden Haji Yusuf, 60, was one of the local elders helped to bury the dead on Monday.

"We are now out, for the first time in two days, to discover the dead bodies of some neighbours and bury them," he said.

Flames on Mogadishi street
The sound of the heavy gunfire for two days is still echoing into my ears
Abdi-wali Hashi

Tabliq official Shiekh Abdi-kheyr Isse said the Ethiopians had "slaughtered" the clerics.

"The Ethiopians surrounded al-Hidaya Mosque on Sunday and killed [the] mullahs mercilessly, including Sheikh Sa'id, the chief of the group in southern Somalia," he said.

Local resident Yahye Sheikh Muse said he had seen the dead bodies of three of his neighbours after the fighting.

More than 100 people have been injured.

Abdi-wali Hashi, only got the chance to take his mother to Daynile Hospital in Monday.

"I could not venture out, even to check next door, where my mother was bleeding because of a gunshot wound on her leg," he told the BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan.

"The sound of the heavy gunfire for two days is still echoing in my ears," he said.

Meanwhile, Islamic militants of the al-Shabab movement are still holding the south-western town of Wajid, 90 kilometres (52 miles) north of Baidoa, the current seat of the interim parliament.

They took the town on Sunday, shutting down video cinema and kiosks selling narcotic leaves known as "khat" and also forced some boys in the city to shave their heads because they had their hair cut into western styles, witnesses said.

"Heavily armed young men, who masked their faces with turbans, have been in control of the town and they have also been patrolling in the streets," local resident Madey Isaq Nur told the BBC by telephone.

"Islamic law does not allow video cinema and all kinds of narcotics and that that is why we prohibited them here during our presence," militant commander Hassan Mo'alim Ibrahim told the BBC.

"We are not going to leave the town until we set up an Islamic administration for the local people," he said.

The prime minister blamed the violence on the Islamists.

"The government is sorry about the fighting and loss of innocent civilian lives," he said on Sunday.

"Our aim is to restore law and order through reconciliation and peaceful means, but that does not mean our troops and those of our ally Ethiopia will not defend themselves as they come under constant attack."

The UN says that more than half of Mogadishu's population has fled recent fighting in the city.

The Ethiopians intervened in 2006 to help government forces oust Islamists who had taken control of much of southern Somalia.

The country has not had an effective national government since 1991.

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