A roadside bomb killed at least 10 civilians in a crowded area of Mogadishu on Tuesday, Somali police sources said. In the south of the country, fighter jets launched air strikes that killed three people in al Shabaab-held areas.
AFP - Somali civilians bore the brunt of violence in the war-torn nation Tuesday, with a roadside bomb killing 10 in the capital and fighter jet strikes in the south claiming three lives.
A roadside bomb exploded in a crowded area in the south of Mogadishu, where Islamist Shebab insurgents have launched repeated guerrilla attacks since pulling out of fixed positions three months ago.
"There was a heavy explosion in Wadajir this afternoon, it was a roadside bomb and we are hearing that more than ten people were killed in the explosion," said Abid Omar, a Somali police officer.
"We are still investigating who was the target, but all of the casualties are civilians," he said, adding that several people were also wounded.
Witnesses said children were killed in the violent blast, which took place on the busy Jayga road in the war-torn city.
"It was a horrible attack, I saw the dead bodies of at least nine civilians including children, there is blood and human flesh everywhere," said Sadiq Mohamed, who witnessed the blast.
In Somalia's far south, close to the Kenyan border, fighter jets killed three civilians in strikes in Shebab-held areas, the latest assault by regional armies combating the Al-Qaeda linked militants.
"Two military jets bombed Yaqle village, which lies between El Wak and Dhamase, three civilians were killed and several others injured," said Moalim Abdulahi Mumin, an elder in El Wak, a town on the Kenya-Somalia border.
"The aircraft fired several bombs, and two of them hit near a shallow well where nomads were drawing water for their livestock... Most of the casualties are civilians," Mumin told AFP by telephone.
Sheikh Ibrahim Mohamed, regional commander of the extremist Shebab insurgents, confirmed the airstrikes.
"We are hearing the enemy military planes fired missiles at civilians, but I have no details at the moment," he said.
There was no immediate confirmation the jets were Kenyan but Nairobi sent troops and tanks into southern Somalia last month after accusing the Shebab of attacks and kidnappings on its territory.
It said earlier this week said its jets had hit militia bases.
Kenyan warplanes were also involved in a strike in southern Somalia late last month in which an aid group said at least five civilians died.
The noose was tightening around the Shebab, who are now battling Kenyan forces in the south, Ugandan and Burundian African Union forces in Mogadishu and face Ethiopian troops which reports say have crossed in from the southwest over the weekend.
Kenyan army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir was not immediately available for comment, but messages posted to his Twitter account Tuesday boasted that Kenya was confident of defeating the extremist militia.
"Victory is on the horizon," one message read. "The outfit (the Shebab) won't exist as a force. We will diminish its effectiveness and pass them to history."
Somalia's neighbours have recently renewed efforts to restore stability there after two decades of chaos, with Nairobi last week saying it was willing to deploy troops for the African Union force protecting the Somali government.
At the weekend, Somali villagers reported seeing Ethiopian troops cross into the war-torn country. Addis Ababa has however denied that it deployed forces to the neighbouring state.
Ethiopia pulled out its soldiers from Somalia in 2009 after a two-year invasion that defeated an Islamist movement, but the group's military wing, the Shebab, regrouped to battle the troops and have waged a bloody war since.
Ugandan and Burundian soldiers making up the 9,700-strong AU force have been battling the Shebab in the capital Mogadishu since deploying in 2007.
Ethiopia on Monday said the decision on whether it will send troops to Somalia will be taken Friday at a heads of state meeting in Addis Ababa of the regional body, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.
Date created : 2011-11-22