Bloody fighting in Somalia mars its 50th anniversary
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Dressed in camouflage and hunkering amid his soldiers, Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed appeared on the front lines Thursday in an offensive against Islamic militants in his country’s shattered capital of Mogadishu, according to witnesses and government officials.
Fierce firefights rumbled across the city on the 50th anniversary of Somali independence. An artillery shell struck a building where families had sought shelter, killing 11 people and wounding 22 others, part of a day of violent battles that saw a total of 17 people killed, said Ali Muse, the head of Mogadishu’s ambulance service.
Eyewitness and media reports said Ahmed clambered on a tank and carried an assault rifle, but it was unclear how directly he was involved in the combat.
Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed visited troops in Mogadishu.