Fighting continued for a third day in the Somali capital, Mogadishu with the Somali government forces moving closer to the main market in the city.
The Somali government forces supported by the African Union troops captured new junctions in the city centre after heavy gun battle with Al-Shabab militants.
The government forces captured the Bakara junction and Hawlwadag junction near the main Bakara market, the economic hub of the city.
Witnesses told VOA that government forces entered the southern edges of the market. A journalist in the market said that many people fled the market. Business in the market has been restricted by the fighting and many shops and stores remain closed on Monday.
Witnesses and medical workers said at least 16 people were killed and more than 50 others were injured since Sunday. Government forces launched the attack yesterday and continued to consolidate their positions on Monday.
Following the government advances, the Somali President urged the business community in the market “to support the peace.” He also called for the protection of the business and wealth in the market.
The Al-Shabab militant groups downplayed the significance of the grounds lost in Sunday’s fighting. Spokesman Sheikh Ali Dhere said the group continues to strive for the imposition of Sharia throughout the country.