Saturday, December 16, 2017
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Air strike close to Mogadishu

Somalia air strikeAn air strike hit a village south of Mogadishu and a local official said the attack targeted Islamist al Shabaab militants fighting to topple the country’s central government.

It was not immediately clear who executed the strike but the United States frequently conducts similar attacks to bolster Somalia’s army in its fight against al Shabaab.

A local government official told Reuters the strike occurred in Ilimey village south-west of Mogadishu.

The area is mostly controlled by al Shabaab.

The target, the official said, was a car used by militants to transport supplies to a squad preparing bombs.

“The strike hit the car ... but we do not know details or casualties,” Ali Nur, deputy governor of Somalia’s lower Shabelle region told Reuters.

Mohamed Abu Usama, al Shabaab’s governor for the same region, denied al Shabaab personnel were attacked and said the strike killed civilians.

“The strike hit a makeshift tea shop and killed seven civilians and injured three others,” he said.

Somalia has been trapped in chaos and lawlessness since 1991 when dictator Siad Barre was toppled.

Al Shabaab wants to topple the Western-backed central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.

An African Union peace keeping force AMISOM pushed the group from Mogadishu and other former strongholds.

The Islamists remain a formidable force, carrying out frequent bombings and assaults on AMISOM, Somali army and civilian targets.

In October over 500 people died in one of Somalia’s deadliest bombings when a truck bomb exploded outside a hotel at Mogadishu’s K5 intersection lined with government offices, restaurants and kiosks.

A second blast struck Medina district two hours later.

 
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