Mortar shells rained down on Mogadishu for a second day Friday, killing at least five people, and the African Union's new representative for Somalia said he expected more peacekeepers to arrive starting this month.
More troops would bolster a peacekeeping force operating in one of the world's most violent and gun-infested cities. But earlier promises reinforcements would arrive soon have not been fulfilled.
"This month, there will be one battalion from Burundi joining the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia and two battalions from Nigeria are expected within two months," said Nicolas Bwakira, the AU representative for Somalia. He added that two Nigerian battalions will arrive by March.
About 1,800 Ugandan peacekeepers are in Somalia, officially as the vanguard of a larger AU peacekeeping force, though no other countries have sent reinforcements so far. Ethiopia, which with tacit U.S. approval sent soldiers to Somalia last year to wipe out the Islamic militants, is not part of the peacekeeping force and is hoping to withdraw.
Violence getting worse
Ethiopian troops come under regular attack. On Friday, Ethiopia's Ministry of Information said joint forces killed 75 Islamist fighters on Thursday. There was no confirmation of that from Mogadishu.
The violence appears to be getting worse in Somalia, which has not had an effective central government since 1991. On Friday, witnesses said mortar shells killed at least five people in the city, following a day in which 12 people were killed in shelling at the city's main market and five were killed in a separate gun battle.
On Thursday, a director at the country's Security Ministry said a radical Islamic group that was driven from power one year ago by a Western-supported offensive is making a significant comeback in Somalia and the government can do little to stop it.
The current government was formed in 2004 with the support of the U.N., but has struggled to assert any real control.