Blast kills four AU peacekeepers in Somalia

Updated on May 16, 2007 07:02 PM IST
A remote-controlled bomb kills four African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and a civilian in the Somalia capital, Mogadishu.
HT Image
HT Image
Reuters | By, Mogadishu

A remote-controlled bomb killed four African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and a civilian on Wednesday in the Somalia capital, in the kind of Iraq-style attack threatened by militant Islamist insurgents.

Five peacekeepers and two children were also wounded in the blast targeting an AU convoy, which an AU security source said was the first such attack against the 1,600-strong Ugandan contingent -- who had so far only been shot at.

"We lost four and five were wounded. It was a roadside bomb and its intention was to hit peacekeepers," AU mission spokesman Captain Paddy Ankunda said.

The blast occurred near Mogadishu's old seaport, Ankunda said. Government soldiers immediately cordoned off the neighborhood -- a decrepit clutch of buildings inhabited mostly by refugees -- and began searching for the attackers.

Suspicion immediately fell on Islamist insurgents who have waged a guerrilla campaign in the capital since the interim government and its Ethiopian allies ran them out of the anarchic city in late December.

The government, along with the United States and Ethiopia, accuses the Islamists of links to al Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden has urged followers to help Somali insurgents. The rebels have promised an Iraq-style insurgency.

The explosion shattered a relative calm in Mogadishu that had endured since the end of two major battles between insurgents and the interim government, backed by its Ethiopian allies, that killed at least 1,300 people in March and April.

Witness who escaped injury despite being thrown into the air by the blast said the bomb was hidden in a pile of garbage.

"I was walking when suddenly I heard a loud bang and found myself in the air. I fell a few meters away. I thought I was dead. I touched my whole body to see if I had any wounds," Muhyidin Ahmed, a 32-year-old father of six, told media.

A man urinating in a bush near the bomb was blown to pieces, Ahmed said: "His flesh is scattered everywhere." Two children wounded while playing were rushed to hospital, he said.

The attack appeared to counter the interim government's assessment, shared by the Ethiopian government that the insurgency had been defeated and the city pacified.

The entire nation has been in anarchy since the 1991 fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, and this government is the 14th attempt at establishing central authority.

Use of roadside bombs -- a favorite weapon in Iraq -- is on the rise in Mogadishu. They have previously been used against the interim government and Ethiopian soldiers.

"We have overcome many which were detected. This was a remote-controlled bomb," the AU security source said.
Security experts said the blast, taken alongside the assassinations of government officials and attacks on or near United Nations offices, pointed to a coalescing insurgency.

"They are not gone, they have just been scattered. The bad boys are resilient. They have changed tactics and they are going to do it a la Baghdad," said one expert who follows Somalia, but who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Late on Tuesday near the central city of Jowhar, gunmen attacked the convoy of the Lower Shabelle region's governor, Mohamed Omar Deele, and killed four soldiers and two journalists traveling with them, a government soldier in the convoy said.

Also on Tuesday, an unknown attacker threw a grenade into a cinema in Baardheere, southern Somalia, killing five and wounding 30. The Islamists, during their brief rule in southern Somalia last year, often closed cinemas they saw as un-Islamic.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A salvo of rockets is fired from Gaza City towards Israel, on Sunday. 

    Five more killed in Gaza amid truce reports: Health ministry

    Five more people were killed in Gaza on Sunday evening, the enclave's health ministry said, amid reports a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants may be imminent. "Thirty-six martyrs, among them 11 children and four women, and 311 injured," the health ministry said, raising the death toll in the Palestinian enclave from 31 since fighting began on Friday.

  • A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points to Taiwan, in Fujian province.

    China keeps up pressure on Taiwan with fourth day of drills

    China said Sunday it carried out its fourth consecutive day of military drills in the air and sea around Taiwan in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island, despite international calls to calm the tensions. The People's Liberation Army said the exercises focused on testing its long-range air and ground strikes. It did not say if it will continue the drills after Sunday.

  • United States President Joe Biden. 

    US Senate poised to pass Biden's cornerstone climate and health bill

    After months of negotiations, the US Senate looks poised to pass Joe Biden's grand climate and health care plan, channeling billions toward ambitious clean energy goals in a hard-won victory for the president ahead of midterm elections. "I think it's going to pass," the Democratic president, who recently recovered from a second bout of Covid-19, told journalists Sunday morning in a brief appearance on the White House lawn.

  • A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points to Taiwan, in Fujian province on Saturday. Taiwan accused the Chinese army of simulating an attack on its main island on Saturday, as Beijing continued its retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Taipei visit. (AFP)

    China concludes Taiwan drills with ‘island saturation attack’, ‘bomber deterrence flights’

    China's People's Liberation Army on Sunday carried out “island saturation attack drills” and “bomber deterrence flights” as it concluded an unprecedented four-day military drill around self-governed Taiwan, launched in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island last week. The Taiwan-focused drills, which took place in six zones around the island, encircling it, began Thursday though advance drills had begun earlier.

  • People get off a coach at an entrance of Atlantis Sanya resort in Sanya, Hainan province, in November. (REUTERS)

    China’s Hainan starts mass Covid testing, imposes more lockdowns

    China's southern island province of Hainan started mass Covid-19 testing on Sunday, locking down more parts of the province of over 10 million residents, as authorities scramble to contain multiple Omicron-driven outbreaks, including the worst in capital Sanya, often called “China's Hawaii”. The number of cases in the province, rapidly spreading across the island located on the South China Sea, has crossed the 1100-mark from August 1 until Sunday noon.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, August 08, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now