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Seven killed in Mogadishu mortar attack

A mortar shell fired into a crowded Mogadishu market has killed seven civilians, including two children, witnesses said today, as continued violence threatens Somalia's fragile peace process.

world Updated: May 10, 2012 08:18 IST

A mortar shell fired into a crowded Mogadishu market has killed seven civilians, including two children, witnesses said on Tuesday, as continued violence threatens Somalia's fragile peace process.


It was not immediately clear who was behind the shelling late on Monday, the latest in a string of attacks in the anarchic capital, where diehard Al-Qaeda allied Shebab insurgents have launched guerrilla assaults on the government.

"Seven people were killed and nine others injured, it was a disaster that shocked everyone," said Dahir Adan, a witness.

"Four of the victims were my close relatives. A mother, father and their two sons have all died, and two others were injured. We don't know where the mortar round came from," said Abdikarin Gaas, who lives near the scene of the attack.

Somali security officials confirmed the attack and said they were investigating.

The Islamist Shebab abandoned most of their fixed positions in Mogadishu in August, but have vowed to continue to battle the Western-backed government, who are protected by an 11,000 strong African Union force.

Despite the series of attacks, much of Mogadishu has been relatively peaceful since the Shebab pull out, with businesses resuming, buildings being renovated and people able to move about more freely.

However, the latest violence shows the danger remaining in the war-shattered capital where efforts are ongoing to select an constituent assembly, part of a fragile process to select a new government ahead of an August 20 deadline.

Last week the United Nations, African Union and East Africa's main diplomatic body IGAD warned in a rare joint statement that efforts at establishing peace in Somalia were at risk.

The three organisations said they were "greatly concerned" at efforts to undermine a "roadmap" signed by Somalia's disparate leaders, the latest effort to bring peace after more than two decades of war.