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Four civilians killed in 2 separate attacks in Somali capital

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July 22, 2007 (MOGADISHU, Somalia)—At least four civilians were killed in two separate attacks Sunday in the south of the Somali capital, officials and a witness said.

Three civilians were killed when Somali soldiers fired indiscriminately after an explosion occurred as their convoy passed, said Mustaf Dhuhulow, who owns a shop near where the explosion happened. Dhuhulow said five other civilians were injured.

Col. Farah Abdulle, an army commander, confirmed there had been land mine explosion and said no soldiers died. He said the soldiers fired in self-defense and denied they targeted civilians.

In a separate attack, a civilian was killed and three other wounded when unidentified men threw three grenades, aiming for government soldiers near Mogadishu’s main market, Bakara, said Col. Ali Sa’id, the city’s police commissioner.

Government soldiers have been searching for arms in Bakara Market for 18 days and have faced almost daily attacks there from suspected insurgents. Officials have said the market is a stronghold of insurgents because some of the businessmen based there are from the same clan as the insurgents, the Ayr.

Mogadishu has seen little peace since government troops backed by Ethiopian forces drove an Islamic movement out of the city in December. Roadside bombs, attacks on government installations, assassination attempts and gunbattles have become common, and civilians are often caught in the crossfire.

The Council of Islamic Courts ruled Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia for six months last year before being pushed out. But insurgents linked to the group have vowed to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla war unless the country becomes an Islamic state.

Somalia has been mired in chaos since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned against one another, defending clan fiefdoms. The government was formed in 2004 with the help of the United Nations, but has struggled to assert its authority.

(AP)

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