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Africa

Deadly blast hits makeshift camp in Mogadishu

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2012-01-19

A bomb blast killed six people near a camp for displaced people in Mogadishu on Thursday, hours after insurgents hurled two hand grenades at a United Nations compound in Somalia's restless capital.

AFP - A bomb blast killed six Somalis Thursday near a camp for displaced people after a food aid distribution in the war-torn capital Mogadishu, a UN source said.

"Six people were killed, including two police officers," the source said.

The blast, believed to be a homemade explosive device, went off in Mogadishu's central Hodan area, a zone crowded with makeshift shelters for the thousands of people displaced by drought and famine.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a string of blasts including roadside bombs and grenade explosions that have rocked the Somali capital in recent months.

The city has seen an increase in such attacks since the Al-Qaeda linked Shebab abandoned fixed positions there in August and switched to guerrilla tactics against the Western-backed government and African Union troops there.

Insurgents also hurled two hand grenades at a United Nations compound.

"There was a hand grenade attack against the UN compound but fortunately the grenades landed onto an empty building next door," a local UN official said on condition of anonymity, adding that there were no casualties.

Witnesses said two men threw the hand grenades towards the UN compound but could not approach the area due to high security.

"I saw two men running after the explosion -- they must have wanted to hit the UN compound but getting close to it is hard as it is heavily guarded," said Abdirahman Ali, a witness.

Hand grenades were thrown at the UN compound earlier this month, again without any casualties.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers, where three regions -- including parts of Mogadishu -- have been declared a famine zone by the UN.

Despite aid efforts, up to 250,000 people face starvation in the famine zones, while some four million Somalis are in urgent need of aid across the Horn of Africa country, according to the UN.
 

Date created : 2012-01-19

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