26 April 2009

Somalia: Six Killed in Attack on African Union Peacekeepers

At least six people were killed Saturday afternoon in the Somali capital Mogadishu after Islamist hardliners attacked African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM), Radio Garowe reports.

The fighting began after armed groups launched mortars at an AMISOM base home to Burundian soldiers, witnesses said.

Several mortars hit residential areas in Hodan and Howlwadaag districts, killing at least six civilians and wounding nearly 25 people.

"Two people were killed in Howlwadaag [district] including my brother," witness Ahmed Salad told Mogadishu-based radio stations.

Another witness said he saw three dead civilians at Bakara Market, the country's largest marketplace, saying that shells hit inside the market causing civilian deaths.

Workers at Daynile Hospital and Medina Hospital in Mogadishu said tens of wounded civilians were admitted for emergency treatment.

An officer who spoke for AMISOM said no peacekeepers were hurt during the attack, but noted that three civilians who came to the AMISOM medical center for medicines were hurt.

No group has claimed responsibility for attacking AMISOM peacekeepers, but the deadly attacks come at a time Islamist opposition leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys has returned to Mogadishu and has demanded the withdrawal of AMISOM from Somali soil.

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