MOGADISHU (Reuters) -Heavy shelling shook Mogadishu for a sixth day on Monday, as the Somali government and its Ethiopian military allies pursued a campaign to wipe out Islamist insurgents in the capital, witnesses said.
“Anybody who has any means of fleeing the area has left,” said Mohamed, a resident close to the scene of the clashes.
Fighting since Wednesday has killed at least 230 people and forced almost half a million to flee the city, local human rights activists say.
The recent battles have centered around an insurgent stronghold in the north of the city where corpses lay rotting in the blistering sun, some mutilated and decapitated by incessant shelling that reduced many buildings to mounds of rubble.
The interim government supported by Ethiopian soldiers, tanks and fighter jets defeated rival Islamist leaders in a lightning war over New Year.
But four months on, it is still struggling to win full control of the capital where Islamist fighters — backed by some disgruntled Hawiye clansmen — have regrouped to resist President Abdullahi Yusuf’s administration.
Clutching their belongings, scores of Somalis streamed out of the coastal city, part of the biggest exodus since warlords ousted a dictator in 1991, plunging the Horn of Africa country into 16 years of lawlessness.