SOMALIA: Five police stations attacked overnight in Mogadishu
A Somali soldier near a building destroyed in recent fighting
MOGADISHU, 10 August 2007 (IRIN) - Armed opponents of Somalia's transitional government attacked the police in the capital, Mogadishu, on 9 August, carrying out raids on five stations overnight before being repulsed, police said.
Two police officers were wounded in the fighting during which five suspected insurgents were killed, according to a senior police officer who asked not to be named.
"They [insurgents] carried out one of their most deadly attacks last night. They attacked five locations, including Howlwadag police station, a former military base where police officers are stationed, and three other compounds where the police are camped," the officer told IRIN. A grenade was thrown at another police unit on 10 August, but nobody was hurt, he added.
The officer said the insurgents’ decision to raid the police stations could have been prompted by an ongoing crackdown on suspected anti-government elements in Mogadishu. Dozens of suspected insurgents have been arrested in an intensified police operation over the past two weeks, he said.
On the night of 8 August two other policemen were wounded when suspected insurgents fired a rocket at a police station in north Mogadishu, and a civilian was killed in an exchange of gunfire between government forces, backed by Ethiopian troops, and the insurgents. More police to be deployed
Abdullahi Hassan Barise, the Mogadishu police chief, said 300 more police would be deployed in the outskirts of north Mogadishu in a bid to prevent militias from carrying out attacks in the city. "We expect to reduce their planned attacks on government positions by stopping them from driving towards their intended targets," he said.
Insecurity in Mogadishu has forced tens of thousands of people to flee the city this year.
Representatives of Somalia's various clans are currently gathered in Mogadishu in an effort to bring about reconciliation in the war-torn Horn of Africa state which has been without a functioning government since 1991, when the Siyad Barre regime was toppled.
Groups opposed to the Transitional Federal Government have boycotted the National Reconciliation Congress and been trying to disrupt it by stepping up attacks in Mogadishu since the meeting got under way on 15 July. Related stories