17 May 2009

Somalia: Mortars Delay President's Speech At Police Ceremony

Mortar shells hit near the police training facility in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Sunday, killing civilians and delaying President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's expected speech to police cadets, Radio Garowe reports.

The mortars missed their target and instead hit nearby civilian homes, killing at least three people and wounding 16 others, witnesses said.

The police training facility in Mogadishu was crowded by police cadets who received training abroad when the mortars hit nearby homes, officials added.

President Sheikh Sharif, who was supposed to deliver a speech and hand out medals at the ceremony, did not show up after reports surfaced that the police training facility was targeted.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamist rebels have vowed to overthrow President Sheikh Sharif's interim government, which they accuse of being a puppet of the West.

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