Monday, July 30, 2007

Somali News Update: Blast Wounds Three Soldiers; Mayor's Home Attacked; Market Explosions, etc.

Somalia: Mogadishu blast wounds three soldiers

Mon. July 30, 2007 04:24 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) Three police officers and one civilian were wounded in bomb blast, which occurred in the main Bakara market, south of the Somalia capital Mogadishu – as the reconciliation congress continues in the city for the second week.

An eyewitness told Somalinet that a local militant threw a hand grenade bomb at the police forces who were in the act of security operations around 10:50am local time.

Soon after the explosion, the security forces sealed off the area and began investigations over who was behind the attack.

It is part of the insurgent attacks against the government in the capital. One of the wounded police officers was reported to be in critical condition, according to local medical sources.

On Sunday, five explosions happened in Mogadishu killing two people and wounding five others.

Meanwhile, fighting has today broken out in Laanta Buure military training camp 35km south of the capital between government soldiers. One soldier was reported to have wounded in the fighting so far. Reports say the latest skirmish was caused by row between the rival soldiers.

Somalia: Insurgent kills 2 soldiers in Mogadishu

Sun. July 29, 2007 04:02 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) A suspected local militant Saturday killed two government soldiers in Suuq Bacaad market in Yaqshid district, north of the Somalia capital Mogadishu. Resident in the area told Somalinet that he ambushed the soldiers who were walking inside the market around 12:20pm local time.

“A man armed with a pistol killed the soldiers in ambush attack,” said one eyewitness fearing of reprisal.

Soon after the shooting, the security forces cordoned the area and began investigations in the market arresting several people in connection with the attack.

The police are questioning the detainees. “Anyone who is found innocent will be freed but the guilty ones will be arrested,” local official said.

The government soldiers and its Ethiopian forces have been target for ambush attacks and bombings by the Islamist insurgents since the ouster of Islamic Courts Union from Somalia late December 2007. The ICU has been ruling much of south and central Somalia for six months.

Somalia: Explosion Mogadishu mayor's house

Sun. July 29, 2007 03:55 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) A bomb exploded near the residence of Mogadishu’s mayor Mohamed Omar Habeb ‘Mohamed Dhere’ in north of the capital. No casualty was reported and it was not clear whether the mayor was inside the house or not.

The deputy mayor Abdifitah Shaweye denied that the explosion was targeted on the mayor’s house.

“Where the bomb exploded was far from the house of the mayor and this is a kind of insurgents’ propaganda,” said Shaweye.

The mayor of Mogadishu had survived from an attempt on his life after roadside explosions in the capital before.

Elsewhere, one person was killed and four others were wounded when an unknown gunman threw a grenade bomb at near a teashop where a group of residents were relaxing in Shangani district east of the Somalia capital Mogadishu last night.

Witnesses told Somalinet that the bomb was aimed at the government soldiers but missed the target. None of the soldiers was hurt.

Somalia: Fresh Bakara explosions kill civilians

Sun. July 29, 2007 04:04 pm.
By Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) At least two people were killed and four others were wounded in four explosions which rocked the main Bakar market, south of the Somalia capital Mogadishu.

The explosions caused by grenade bombs which targeted on the government soldiers involving in clearing operations to remove kiosks from the roads inside the market.

The blasts occurred in different locations in the market as the soldiers opened fire in response to the bomb attacks.

There is no immediate casualty on the soldiers. Before the incident, the forces were using bulldozers to destroy the cabins alongside the roads.

The shops in the areas of the explosions were closed for short while. Investigations are now under way to pursue the attackers.

Unknown insurgents carried out the latest bomb explosions in Bakar market, which has been relatively calm since the government ended the siege last week.

Eritrea: Gov’t sending missiles to Somalia – UN

Mon. July 30, 2007 05:40 pm.
By Bonny Apunyu

(SomaliNet) According to a UN monitoring group on consistent violations of an arms embargo, huge quantities of arms are reaching Islamic insurgents in Somalia such as surface-to-air missiles from Eritrea.

UN’s recent report to its Security Council, published by the United Nations, says Somalia is awash with more arms than at any time since the early 1990s when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the northeast African country was thrown into anarchy.

According to a report, most weapons have been brought into Somalia via clandestine routes and many have reached the Shabab, the fighting wing of the militant Islamic Courts Union.

"Huge quantities of arms have been provided to the Shabab by and through Eritrea," the report said, adding the Islamists had "an unknown number of surface-to-air missiles, suicide belts and explosive with timers and detonators."

Eritrea has denied sending the weapons, particularly the surface-to-air missiles. But the report showed pictures from a video of the fighters carrying SA-18 missiles, which were used against a Belarus aircraft that had made an emergency landing in Mogadishu, the capital.

The monitoring group in April also showed a Security Council sanctions committee, headed by South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, a video of the actual firing of the missile, which it said was part of a consignment of six SA-18s that had been delivered by Eritrea.

Eritrea is the archrival of Ethiopia, and diplomats say the two have been waging a proxy war in Somalia since last year when Asmara backed a hard-line Islamist movement against the country's fragile government. Ethiopia sent in troops to support the government and dislodge the Islamists from Mogadishu.

The monitoring group said a chartered Boeing 707 cargo plane, owned by Aerogem Aviation Ltd, based in Ghana, had made at least 13 trips from Asmara to Mogadishu, sometimes filing false flight plans. But the flights were confirmed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the report said.

A letter in the report by Eritrea's UN ambassador, Araya Desta, said the accusations were "fabricated" and part of a "subtle disinformation campaign" to cover up Ethiopian "adventurism."

Ethiopia is also not exempt from the arms embargo, even though the United Nations and the African Union support the government. Only Uganda is exempt because its military operates under an AU flag.

Ethiopia, in its letter, said its weapons were legal because it "has been involved in Somalia at the invitation of the legitimate and international recognised Transitional Federal Government."

The United States, which believes the Islamists have close ties to al-Qaeda, conducted two air strikes in January. The monitoring group said it received information that on June 2, the US Navy fired several times at suspected al-Qaeda operatives near the coastal village of Bargal.

Asked about arms embargo violations, Zalmay Khalizad, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said in a letter that attacks against al-Qaeda were in self-defense in response to ongoing threats to the US.

He said that the US action against "known terrorist targets" did not constitute delivery of weapons to Somalia.

Despite defeats by the Ethiopians, Shabab, which attacks Ethiopian and government troops regularly, has hidden weapons caches for future use and has scattered their fighters, the report said.

Other weapons have found their way through arms dealers operating in a large arms market in Mogadishu, which sells to warlords scattered in central and southern Somalia and "is doing a brisk and lucrative business in arms sales."


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