As Somalia’s prime minister was fighting for his job Wednesday ahead of a no-confidence vote scheduled for later this week, at least eight were killed in fresh violence.
The latest violence in Mogadishu, which is wracked by a bloody insurgency, started Tuesday night when gunmen attacked a police station, witnesses said. An ensuing gunbattle and two other firefights killed at least six people.
"I heard a huge sound, then I lost consciousness," said a witness who identified himself only as Osman.
In the port city of Kismayo, a remote-controlled bomb killed two people, said Abdi Omar, the region's governor.
Somalia's U.N.-backed government has been struggling to assert authority since it chased a powerful Islamic alliance out of power last December with the help of Ethiopian allies. The Islamic fighters vowed to fight an Iraq-style insurgency against the government and the Ethiopians, and the fighting has claimed thousands of lives this year.
In the provincial town of Baidoa on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi was meeting supporters amid reports that President Abdullahi Yusuf wants to push through a no-confidence vote this week and form a new government.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when a group of powerful clan leaders overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other. The arid Horn of Africa nation is deeply impoverished and split by clan rivalries.