June 1 - Battles rage in Mogadishu as government and African Union forces advance on a strategic rebel-held market. Travis Brecher reports.
Battles rage in Mogadishu - as African Union peacekeepers and Somali forces advance on the city's strategic Bakara market. Regaining control of the rebel-held market is essential to flushing al-Qaeda affiliated militants out of the Somali capital, but analysts warn the fight is likely to be hard and messy. According to A.U. peacekeepers, several strategically important streets have been seized. But with bodies littering these streets, the gains come at a high cost for both sides. One army commander says that little by little, security forces are ousting al Shabaab militants. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) SOMALIA FORCE COMMANDER, COLONEL ABDILAHI OSMAN CAGEI, SAYING: "Today we are at African village buildings which we liberated from the al Shabaab militia, this is by the will of God and it's not something that human beings can achieve by themselves." Considered by the United States as al Qaeda's proxy in the region, al Shabaab is fighting to topple the country's beleaguered government. And while the militants appear to be on the defensive, A.U. officials warn a bitter power struggle among the country's political leaders risks reversing any military gains. Travis Brecher, Reuters