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Dozens killed in Somali port blast

Latest update : 2008-02-05

At least 20 people were killed and over one hundred wounded on Tuesday in an explosion in the northern Somali port of Bossaso, where Somali and Ethiopian immigrants begin the dangerous crossing to Yemen, a regional official said.

BOSASSO, Somalia, Feb 5 (Reuters) - An explosion killed at
least 20 people and wounded a hundred more on Tuesday in a
northern Somali port where Somali and Ethiopian immigrants begin
the dangerous crossing to Yemen, a regional official said.

"A big explosion killed more than 20 people and wounded at
least a hundred tonight," Bari regional governor Musa Gelle
Yusuf told Reuters.

"More dead bodies are still being brought to Bosasso
hospital. We do not know the cause but police are
investigating," he said.

Most of the wounded were Ethiopian immigrants, Bosasso
hospital nurse Mohamed Ali Hassan said. Ethiopia has for
hundreds of years been the chief rival of Somalia.

Thousands of people fleeing poverty and violence in Somalia
and neighbouring Ethiopia risk passage through the Horn of
Africa nation to make the trip to Yemen in hope of better lives.

But the journey across the Gulf of Aden is treacherous, and
kills hundreds annually when often-overloaded boats capsize or
sink in the shark-infested waters.

Bosasso is the main port in the semi-autonomous northern
Puntland region, which is relatively peaceful compared with
southern Somalia, where the interim Somali federal government is
battling an insurgency led by Islamist militants.

In the Somali capital Mogadishu, four people were killed by
insurgents in the northern part of the city, witnesses said.

"The insurgents first killed a policewoman and then they
chased a policeman who ran when he saw them," resident Quresh
Osman said. "The insurgents then opened fire indiscriminately,
killing the policeman and two other civilians."

A bloody insurgency pitting the government and its Ethiopian
military allies against the remnants of a militant Islamist
movement has raged in the capital. The movement was run out of
the city a year ago.

At least 6,500 people have been killed and more than 600,000
forced to flee near-daily violence.

In Baladwayne, near the Ethiopian border, four gunmen shot
dead the local district attorney, a regional official and a
resident said.

"It is true that the district attorney of Baladwayne, Sheikh
Ibrahim Gonle, was killed this evening. We do not know yet who
killed him," Hiraan regional chairman Yusuf Ahmed Hagar told
Reuters by telephone.

A witness, Omar Mohamud, said four men shot the attorney and
wounded one of his bodyguards.

Hiraan region has seen a few episodes of violence by
pro-Islamist gunmen in the past few months, but residents say it
has mostly been sparked by dissatisfaction with the regional
administration's levying of high taxes.

Date created : 2008-02-05