Five die in Somalia convoy attack – BBC

May 30th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Woyanne troops have opened fire, killing five civilians, after a land mine attack on their convoy in the town of Beledweyne in central Somalia. (more…)

Woyanne troops have opened fire, killing five civilians, after a land mine attack on their convoy in the town of Beledweyne in central Somalia.

Troops fired in all directions after the mine struck a water tanker, the convoy’s last vehicle, witnesses said.

Woyanne forces have been in Somalia since December at the invitation of the transitional government, fighting Islamist insurgents and clan militias.

The Islamists are increasingly adopting guerrilla tactics in the conflict.

They have taken to using roadside bombs and landmines after they were defeated by a major offensive in the capital, Mogadishu, last month.

African Union force

The Woyanne convoy was heading to a base in the western part of Beledweyne, witnesses told the BBC.

One roadside vendor, Ali Iid, said: “The troops opened fire in all directions soon after the blast and controlled the scene for 10 minutes before they continued their journey.

“The explosion rocked the entire area. We ducked and it sent clouds of huge smoke into the sky. I saw five people lying in the street.”

A police colonel, Yusuf Aden, told the BBC the explosion was a remote-controlled landmine.

“Five people, all of them passers-by, were killed and three others who were wounded were admitted to hospital,” Col Aden said.

About 40 Somalis were detained for questioning by the Woyanne military but were later released.

Zenawi says it wants to leave Somalia once the African Union peacekeeping force there is at an effective level.

Some 1,500 Uganda soldiers have been deployed as part of the planned 8,000-strong AU mission.

However, other AU nations have been wary of providing more troops.

Somalia has been without an effective national government for 16 years, controlled by rival militias and awash with guns.

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