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Heavy Fighting in Somalia; African Union Peacekeepers Take on Al-Qa’ida-aligned Shabab

Heavy fighting is reported in Mogadishu on Thursday as African Union peacekeepers take on Al-Qa’ida-aligned Shehab fighters. Sources in Somalia said no casualty figures were available, but some civilians were caught in the crossfire between the government troops backed by AU forces and the Shehab gunmen. Heavy machine guns and artillery are being used according to reports. Shehab Islamists are committed to expelling Somalia’s Western-influenced transitional government. On Wednesday, the World Food Program airlifted to Somalia 10 tons of emergency food supplies intended to feed malnourished children suffering the effects of a severe drought in the Horn of Africa. The humanitarian flights are lifting off from Kenya and will deliver a total of 100 tons of food to feed 35,000 children monthly. 12 million people are at risk throughout the region.