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Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 - 5:11:05 AM
Somalia: Armed clashes continue in Mogadishu

A landmine explosion and interfighting within government forces on Saturday killed and wounded several people including senior government officials in Somalia 's restive capital Mogadishu , witnesses and medics said.

The explosion happened in Afisyone  near Aden Adde International Airport , south of Mogadishu .areas and was targeted on a vehicle carrying Mogadishu 's Hamarjajab district commissioner Ahmed Sheikh Mohammed Odowa and his entourage

Witnesses said the car hit a landmine and exploded on impact, killing Odowa and three others including a woman and security officers.

Paramedics confirm that five others, mostly security personnel were seriously wounded in the explosion.  

The officials were reportedly in the area to assess the security situation after the police on Thursday demolished several houses of Internally Displaced people built near the airport.

Al-Shabaab insurgent group has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

"We carried out the attack to avenge the suffering he (Odowa) inflicted on the poor displaced people," Al-Shabaab’s Mogadishu commander Sheikh Ali Mohammed Hussein told the reporters.

Meanwhile, brief clashes involving government soldierss near Mogadishu 's main airport has killed at least  five soldiers and injured six others. Other reports said armed protesters opposed to the demolition of the house in the area joined the clashes against one side of the government forces.

Mogadishu mayor recently issued the order to demolish the houses, citing security threats it posed to the airport which is located about 100 meters.

He also alleged that the insurgent Al-Shabaab had sponsored the construction of the houses in order to use it as hideout to launch attacks on the airport.  As a result, thousands of families were left at the cold with no alternatives.

The Somali government has promised to relocate the displaced to other government-controlled areas. However, human right groups doubt the promise, saying the action was in the first place ill advised because the victims are harmless.

Powerful insurgents led by Al-Shabaab are waging daily battle against the fragile administration led by TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.


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