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Armed clan feud in Somalia kills 16
By Guled Mohamed
MOGADISHU, 18 Aug 2007 - At least 16 people were killed and 30 others wounded on Saturday in a fierce gun battle between rival clans in central Somalia, witnesses said.
The violence erupted hours after the deputy governor of the Somali capital survived an assassination attempt as his car hit a remote-controlled landmine planted by suspected insurgents.
Witnesses said the fighting in the remote village of Goobo was linked to a blood feud between rival clans in the fractious Horn of Africa nation. It had no direct link to the Islamist-led insurgency raging in Mogadishu, they said.
"Fierce fighting started this morning in Goobo between two clans. It was all revenge killings," said Hussein Ali, a villager who fled the violence to a nearby town.
He said he had seen 16 people shot dead and 30 wounded.
"I fled this morning with four of the wounded people to El Bur. If the two clans are not stopped by some intervention, the fighting will intensify," he told Reuters by telephone.
Somalia has been without a functioning government since the fall of military ruler Mohamed Siad Barre's regime in 1991. Gun battles have replaced courts as a means of resolving disputes.
But violence has worsened since allied Somali-Ethiopian troops ousted Islamist fighters from Mogadishu in December 2006.
Earlier in Mogadishu, Abdullahi Hassan Geney "Firimbi" escaped unhurt from a landmine blast near a police training college in south Mogadishu.
"He is in shock," a close aide told Reuters, asking not to be named. "I believe he was the target. A district commissioner and two police officers guarding them were wounded."
Islamist insurgents have stepped up attacks on government troops and their Ethiopian backers to almost daily frequency.
In a separate incident on Saturday, witnesses said a woman was killed in Mogadishu's Bakara market when suspected insurgents hurled a grenade at Somali police on patrol.
"Two gunmen threw a grenade at police and then opened fire before fleeing," Ahmed Muse, who witnessed the attack, said, adding that the police returned fire.
On Thursday, Uganda said it would send 250 extra soldiers to bolster a 1,600-strong African Union peacekeeping force that has attempted unsuccessfully to bring peace to the troubled country.
Observers say it had been plagued by the failure of other nations to commit troops.