Police Base in Somalia Is Attacked by Insurgents

Wednesday February 23, 2011 - 11:54:04 in News In English by Xarunta Dhexe
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    Police Base in Somalia Is Attacked by Insurgents

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Suicide bombers attacked a police base in Mogadishu on Monday, killing at least seven people, including two children, amid intense urban fighting that gripped the capital for a third day, officials and witnesses said.

The bombers, in a big Toyota truck loaded with explosives and oil containers, blew up the vehicle on Monday morning at a police training center in Mogadishu’s Hamarjajab District, close to the police academy, knocking down houses and injuring dozens of people.

Over the weekend, African Union peacekeepers helping to bolster Somalia’s weak transitional government claimed to have taken a “major step forward” by locating and cutting off an extensive trench system used by Islamist insurgents to funnel “fighters and ammunition in and out of government-held districts.”

But then on Monday, said Col. Abdullahi Hassan Barise, a police spokesman, the suicide attackers drove a “high-speed truck” full of fuel and explosives into the gate of the training center.

The Shabab, an Islamist insurgent group that has declared allegiance to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has waged previous suicide attacks against the government and African Union peacekeepers.

It has also claimed responsibility for the bombings in Uganda during the World Cup last year in South Africa, part of what it called retribution for the presence of African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.

According to a police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, at least eight police officers were killed in the attack on Monday.

However, the transitional federal government gave a different estimate of the toll, saying in a statement that seven people had been killed in the explosion, including the two children. It condemned the attack as barbaric.

“It was a cowardly attack,” said Abdulkareem Jama of the Ministry of Information. “The terrorist group always targets soft targets, whenever they fail on the battlefield.”

Sheik Ali Mohamoud Rageh, a Shabab spokesman who held a news conference after the attack, said that it had been carried out against a military camp where 600 government soldiers were preparing to take part in the fight against the Shabab.

“The army in the camp were trained recently in Djibouti and were in a plan to be armed in order to fight against us,” he said.

His claim could not be independently verified.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government since 1991, when the former government was toppled by clan militias that later turned on one another

Akhrise hoos kadhiibo fikirkaaga

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