Zenawi denies Somalia bombing – BBC

December 14th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia has denied involvement in an mortar attack that killed at least 17 people in the main market in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on Thursday. (more…)

Ethiopia has denied involvement in an mortar attack that killed at least 17 people in the main market in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on Thursday.

More gunfire and explosions were heard near Bakara market on Friday morning, but there are no details of casualties.

Ethiopian troops backing the interim Somali government were earlier reported to be behind Thursday’s shelling, in which more than 40 people were injured.

Eyewitnesses said the deadly shells landed among shoppers.

Ethiopian government adviser Berekat Simon said the insurgents had been severely weakened, so Ethiopia had no need to target markets.

However, in what is seen as a rare admission of the Somali government’s weakness, a senior national security ministry official on Thursday said that 80% of the country is outside government control and not safe.

Sheikh Qasim Ibrahim Nur also warned that Islamist insurgents had regrouped and were poised to launch a major strike.

Traders accused

The BBC’s Mohammed Olad Hassan says Bakara market, the biggest in Somalia, is a place where Somalia government and Ethiopian troops have previously clashed with insurgents.

The government has accused businessmen in the market of supporting the insurgents, our correspondent says.

Thursday’s attack took place a few hours after heavily armed insurgents engaged in a fire fight with the Ethiopian troops in a northern district of the city.

Ethiopia and government troops have been accused of shelling residential areas on numerous occasions in the past year.

Ethiopia helped the government end the Union of Islamic Courts’ (UIC) six-month rule over large parts of southern Somalia, last December.

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