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Somalis protest homeland violence

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — About 100 Somali refugees gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday to protest escalating violence in their homeland.

In the past week, at least 165 civilians have been killed in Mogadishu in fighting between Islamic insurgents and Ethiopian soldiers, including at least 52 on Saturday, according to a human rights organization.

Gandi Mohamed, 27, of Minneapolis said he just learned that a cousin in Mogadishu, the nation’s capital, was killed Saturday after a bomb hit a mosque. "It is all senseless," Mohamed said. "It must be stopped."

Minnesota has one of the largest Somali concentrations in the country with an estimated 30,000 Somali refugees.

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Somali troops backed by Ethiopian forces ousted the Council of Islamic Courts from Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia in December. Somalia’s transitional government, formed in 2004, has struggled to extend control over the country.

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