Peacekeepers fight off Somali militants

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The Independent Online

Heavy fighting erupted yesterday in Mogadishu as African Union (AU) peacekeepers mounted an offensive to protect famine-relief efforts from attacks byal-Qa'ida-linked militants.

Al-Shabab had sent 300 reinforcement fighters to the capital in recent days, Lieutenant-Colonel Paddy Ankunda said. The AU believes the militants were trying to stop aid from reaching famine refugees.

The UN's World Food Programme says it cannot reach 2.2 million people in need of aid in the militant-controlled areas in southern Somalia because of the insecurity.

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