Renewed fighting in Mogadishu has left hundreds dead and more than 1,500 wounded in what appears to be a bid by two Somali factions to pressure a key player to make a peace deal.
In the most recent clash, eight people died in south Mogadishu in artillery exchanges Wednesday between forces loyal to Hussein Aidid and those of his rivals Osman Hassan Ali.
Aidid, the leader of the strongest Somali faction, has refused to take part in a new round of reconciliation talks that has brought together 26 Somali factions at a resort outside the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
His principal enemies were there: Ali Mahdi Mohamed, whose Abgal clan controls north Mogadishu and an embattled enclave in the southern half of the city; and Hassan Ali, also known as Atto, who is Mohamed’s ally from south Mogadishu.
In Aidid’s absence, a foreign ministry official in Addis Ababa said, the leaders agreed to set up a coordinating council to prepare an agenda and decide on a venue for further talks.
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