Four African Union peacekeepers killed and several injured by al-Shabab mortar attack in Mogadishu.
|There has been heavy fighting in Mogadishu in recent days between al-Shabab and government troops [AFP]|
Two violent incidents in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, have led to the deaths of at least 14 people.
Eight people were killed and 14 others wounded in a roadside bomb blast on Tuesday.
Five men and three women were killed in the explosion, Ali Muse, the head of the city’s ambulance service, said.
Ahmed Adma, the driver of the bus, said that blood and body parts were scattered on the ground after the attack.
The driver lost consciousness after the explosion but was not seriously hurt.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Similar attacks have been carried out by al-Shabab, a group battling the government and linked to al-Qaeda.
In the north of the capital, six civilians were killed in a mortar shelling incident between African Union (AU) peacekeepers and al-Shabaab fighters near the main market, witnesses said.
Residential areas built near the market are often destroyed when both sides fire mortar shells leaving civilian casualties.
“A mortar landed here and the result was that two people were killed and our building totally destroyed,” said Ali Dinih, who lost two of his family members and saw the destruction of his house.
There has been heavy fighting in Mogadishu in recent days between al-Shabab and government troops.
On Monday, four African Union (AU) peacekeepers were killed in the capital after al-Shabab fighters fired a mortar at the presidential palace.
The shelling of the palace continued on Tuesday.
The Red Cross said on Tuesday that the upsurge in fighting had led to the city’s hospitals being in a critical state, with dozens of Somalis needing surgery.
Al-Shabab last week declared a “decisive” war against AU peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi deployed in the city.
Uganda and Burundi have supplied more than 6,300 troops to support Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government.
Al-Shabab has said that it will continue to carry out attacks in Uganda and Burundi as long as those countries provide troops for the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia.
The AU pledged last month to expand the force, with both Guinea and Djibouti promising new troops.
Al-Shabab, which has been fighting Somalia’s government since 2007, recently claimed responsibility for a twin bombing attack in Uganda, which killed more than 70 people who were watching the football World Cup.
Some fear the fighting could cause the fragile government to collapse.
Somalia has not had an effective central government for nearly 20 years and al-Shabab controls significant portions of the country’s south.
More than 21,000 Somalis have been killed in fighting since the start of the uprising, 1.5 million people have been uprooted from their homes and nearly half a million are sheltering in other countries in the region.