MOGADISHU, Somalia, July 19 (UPI) -- Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed vowed that planned, internationally sponsored peace talks will go forward despite clashes in Mogadishu.
At least one soldier and one civilian were killed when mortars were fired into the city's main market, igniting a powerful army response, the BBC reported Thursday.
"It was the worst gun battle I have ever heard," said witness Mohamud Ibrahim. "They used all sorts of weapons."
The conference, which has been postponed several times, is being boycotted by Islamists and Mogadishu's clan elders.
Although the talks were slated to take place in north Mogadishu, away from the fighting, explosions could still be heard.
Ahmed has said the meeting will go ahead, however, even if a nuclear bomb is dropped.
Somalia has been without a functioning government for 16 years, the BBC noted.