Thursday, January 24, 2008

AU Delegation in Somali Capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Insurgents launched mortars at the airport as an African Union team left Somalia Wednesday, killing a 13-year-old boy and wounding three others, witnesses said.

Hours earlier, mortars also were launched at the presidential palace just after Said Djinnit, head of the AU Peace and Security Council, and other officials had a meeting there, witnesses said. A spokesman for Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf said none of the weapons landed inside the compound.

Djinnit said as he arrived Wednesday that the one-day visit is a show of support for the government, which is battling an Islamic insurgency that has killed thousands of civilians over the past year.

"On the other hand we want see the welfare and the work of our troops, who are doing (a) wonderful job here on our behalf," Djinnit told journalists in the capital, Mogadishu.
As Djinnit was leaving, a mortar landed on a home near the airport, said Mohamed Yusuf, a relative of the boy who died.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since clan-based warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other, sinking the poverty-stricken nation of 7 million people into chaos.

Its weak transitional government, backed by Ethiopian troops, is struggling to quash an Islamic insurgency. Uganda and Burundi have sent peacekeepers to Somalia, officially as the vanguard of an 8,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force. But no other countries have sent reinforcements so far.

The AU has come under attack before in the capital.
Source: AFP

No comments: