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Troops battle to break Somalian aid blockade

AFRICAN Union troops fought house-to-house battles with militants in Mogadishu yesterday to clear space for aid groups bringing in food supplies after reports of insurgents planning attacks on famine refugee camps.

Heavy fighting erupted on the line of control between the government side and territory held by militant group al-Shabab and at least six people were killed.

The AU troops also paid a heavy price, with one official saying 19 were wounded.

Somalia's famine is unfolding in the middle of a war zone, complicating international efforts to prevent a wave of death. Some 2.2 million people live in a famine zone controlled by the al-Qa'ida-linked al-Shabab. Yesterday's house-to-house fighting was only 4km from the nearest famine refugee camp, said an AU spokesman.

The offensive was to ensure that aid groups can get supplies to the 20,000 famine refugees who have arrived in Mogadishu this month alone.

Irish Independent