Somalis die in car explosion

Fresh attacks hit Mogadishu as Burundi and Uganda prepare to send peacekeepers.

    A police officer was killed in Mogadishu's Eymiska district and two others were injured [Reuters]

    "The car is in pieces. The trunk of the car and the roof were blown apart by the explosion. I saw four skulls and bones lying in the car."
    Policeman killed
    In the second incident, a police officer was killed and two others wounded when armed men opened fire at a police car, in the capital's northern Eymiska district.


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    Mogadishu has seen increasing chaos and near-daily attacks since
    Somalia's interim government, backed by Ethiopian troops, routed the Union of Islamic Courts and took control of the city in a December war.
    Officials blame remnants of the Islamic courts movement for the violence. Some fighters have vowed to continue fighting since being ousted from the strongholds they had controlled since June.


    The recurring bloodshed has sent hundreds of residents fleeing from the uncontrolled coastal city, which experienced a semblance of order under the rule of the Islamic courts.


    AU peacekeeping


    Meanwhile, some 1,500 Ugandan troops are to deploy within days to the city as part of an African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission to restore stability.


    Although some Somalis welcome their arrival, others feel the force will not achieve much in a nation in chaos since a dictator was ousted in 1991.


    Burundi's army said on Sunday the tiny central African nation would also deploy troops to Somalia, and an advance mission could go in days.


    Residents of Mogadishu are fleeing their
    homes for the safety of rural areas [EPA]

    Colonel Adolphe Manirakiza, a Burundi army spokesman, said: "Burundi will supply 1,700 troops and the first elements are expected to leave next week."


    He added that an additional 80 army officers would also be sent.


    Diplomats have urged rich nations to back and fund the AU mission but only about 4,000 troops have been pledged of the 8,000 called for.


    Some Islamic courts fighters have vowed to attack any foreign troops dispatched to Somalia.


    The government hopes the peace force will help it disarm residents of one of the world's most dangerous cities.


    The government had announced a disarmament drive after sweeping into the capital, but few weapons were handed in.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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