- - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SOMALIA

7 Somalis killed by shells in market

MOGADISHU - Witnesses said a barrage of artillery shells pounded the largest market in Somalia’s capital, and a medical official said seven people were killed.

Pro-government forces have been waging an offensive against Islamist militants since February. The pro-government troops have captured several key positions so far.

Ambulance service chief Ali Muse said Wednesday that seven civilians died after shells hit Bakara market, and that 21 others were wounded.

Civilians in the Somali capital have suffered through two decades of violence, which started when the Horn of Africa nation descended into chaos in 1991.

Somalia's government said Tuesday that the offensive has made “remarkable” gains in the last few days.

SUDAN

South Sudan says north bombs its territory

KHARTOUM - South Sudan's army (SPLA) on Wednesday accused the north of bombing its territory, violating a 2005 peace deal ahead of the oil-producing region’s independence.

Sudan’s north-south conflict raged for all but a few years since 1955 and claimed 2 million lives in Africa’s longest running civil war.

The south voted this year to secede and will become the world’s newest nation on July 9.

SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer said the north dropped bombs on March 21 between a village and an SPLA base causing no casualties in Raja County in Western Bahr al-Ghazal, which borders the north’s war-torn Darfur region.

Sudan’s northern army denied it had carried out any bombing raids near the area.

The north-south U.N. peacekeeping mission said it had reports from the SPLA of bombing raids and had sent a patrol to investigate.

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