Published Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 | 4:51 a.m.
Updated Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 | 4:51 a.m.
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Residents in Mogadishu say that hundreds of families are fleeing the Somali capital after a spike in the number of clashes between militants and pro-government troops.
Dozens of vehicles piled high with belongings headed to the outskirts of Mogadishu on Thursday.
Mumino Jama, a mother of five, said her family is leaving because the fighting is "scary." Mohamed Ali, another resident, said heavy clashes have included mortar fire that has landed on civilian homes. Ali said he knows of four people killed in the clashes.
The clashes follow a rise in assassinations by gunmen.
The latest violence is a setback for the Somali capital, which is trying to move past decades of war. Mogadishu has seen relative stability since the ouster of Islamist rebels from al-Shabab in 2011.