Sunday, January 25, 2009

Car Bomb Attack in Somali Capital Kills at Least 14

Car bomb attack in Somali capital kills at least 14

5:49:45 PM

A car bomb attack in the Somali capital of Mogadishu killed at least 14 people on Saturday, according to agencies' reports.

The attack took place near a base of African Union peacekeepers. The bomb-laden vehicle reportedly aroused the suspect of police who opened fire at it, then the car blew up.

The victims include 13 civilians and a policeman. No peacekeeper was hurt in the incident.

It was unknown who was behind the car bomb assault.

A total of 8,000 African Union peacekeepers are required in Somalia but only 3,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi have been deployed.

The incident took place when Uganda is to deploy another battalion of about 700 soldiers in volatile Somalia following the complete withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops.

Crispus Kiyonga, Uganda's Defense Minister told the defense committee of the parliament on Thursday that the troops, along with another contingent from Burundi will be deployed in the country in the next two to three weeks, filling a vacuum created by Ethiopia's withdrawal.

The development also came as Somali parliamentarians have started leaving the southern town of Baidoa for Djibouti City, capital of neighboring Djibouti, where the Somali presidential election is scheduled to be held later this month.

The United Nations secretary-general's special representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, on Monday called for a unity government and stability in the war-torn country.

Ould-Abdallah made the remarks as delegates from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) held discussions on the setting up of a functioning central government, which has been absent in the country for 27 years.

"This is a key moment for Somalia and it is extremely important to get it right, after almost two decades of violence," the UN envoy was quoted by a news release as saying.

"This is a delicate process. All participants are confident that it will succeed and help bring more stability to Somalia," he said.

Somalia has been plagued by fighting and humanitarian suffering for decades. Fighting over the last two years, involving Ethiopian-backed government forces and a variety of Islamist groups, has killed thousands of Somalis and displaced at least a million others.

The TFG and the ARS signed an agreement in June 2008 to end conflict, but violence has continued in Somalia.

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