- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 5, 2009

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (AP) - An overnight mortar attack aimed at troops and peacekeepers in the Somali capital instead killed a child and wounded six other people, including four of the dead child’s siblings, officials and a witness said Sunday.

African Union peacekeepers and Somali troops returned artillery fire as the attackers ran away, police spokesman Abdulahi Hassan Barise said.

No group has claimed responsibility, but police credit an insurgent group that has vowed to fight peacekeepers and Somalia’s new government.

It was not known whether the peacekeepers’ base in southern Mogadishu suffered damage or injuries, and AU officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.

One mortar shell tore through the home of Salad Mohamed Farah, killing his 7-year-old son and wounding four of his other children.

“Blood was everywhere. It was shocking,” he told The Associated Press, adding that his family had just returned from Kenya, to where they had fled during the recent Ethiopian troop presence in Mogadishu.

“They met this disaster at a time they were expecting peace,” he said.

Six civilians wounded in the attack were taken to a hospital, ambulance service chief Rufaci Mohamed Salad said.

Somalia’s new government has been trying to broker peace with warring groups and gain legitimacy in the chaotic eastern African country, after years of lawlessness since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, elected by parliament in January, is a former fighter with the Islamic insurgency that is trying to overthrow the government despite signing a peace deal last year.


Associated Press Writer Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu contributed to this report.

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