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UN Says Somalia May Need 'Coalition Of The Willing'

(Courtesy Photo) April 21, 2007 -- Mortar shells killed more civilians in Mogadishu today, and sent hundreds more fleeing the Somali capital in the biggest mass exodus in the last 16 years.

Battles since April 18 pitting Somali and Ethiopian troops against Islamist insurgents have killed at least 131 people.

The United Nations said at least 321,000 people have fled the city since February, the largest exodus since the 1991 ouster of dictator Muhammad Siad Barre. Mogadishu is estimated to have a population of about 2 million.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a "coalition of the willing" may be needed to restore peace in Somalia.

In a report released on April 20, Ban questioned whether a conventional UN peacekeeping force could succeed in the lawless East African country.

He said if violence gets worse, a UN-mandated peace enforcement operation made up of forces from a "coalition of the willing" may be the only option.

Ban's report is set to be discussed by the Security Council on April 24.

(compiled form agency reports)

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