MOGADISHU, Somalia Jan 16 (Garowe Online) -
A huge blast in Somalia's capital Mogadishu targeted an Ethiopian army convoy as it drove through a major intersection Wednesday, killing seven soldiers on board, witnesses reported.
The Ethiopian convoy left the old pasta factory when the hidden landmine exploded in Yaaqshiid district, targeting an army transport truck full of soldiers.
“I saw soldiers on the ground and many others shrieking…there was a lot of smoke,” said witness Abdulkadir, who lives in the vicinity.
Ethiopian army reinforcements rushed to the scene and fired bullets into the air to disperse crowds. Unconfirmed reports said a young boy was wounded in the subsequent gunfire.
|Ethiopian army transport truck|
Today's deadly explosion follows fierce overnight battles in parts of Mogadishu, especially around Industry Road, where Somali-Ethiopian soldiers stand guard around the clock.
There were no confirmed reports on casualties from last night's battle, since most civilians have fled the area, but area residents told Garowe Online they could hear loud explosions and the ceaseless exchange of gunfire.
Suspected insurgents, armed with rockets and grenades, initiated two separate attacks on the same position, starting at around 7pm local time, sources said.
Government officials did not provide details from the battle, but one official privately claimed that government troops "killed some insurgents and captured others."
The Somali government and its Ethiopian military backers have faced a deadly insurgency in Mogadishu, where roadside bombings and rocket attacks have become common since the beginning of 2007.
Islamist fighters opposed to the presence of foreign troops have vowed to continue their hit-and-run attacks until Ethiopian troops withdraw from Somalia.
The bloody conflict has killed more than 6,000 civilians and displaced nearly 600,000 others, according to UN and aid agency figures.
Source: Garowe Online