, MOGADISHU, May 8 – Seven civilians were killed and nine wounded after a mortar shell was fired into a crowded neighbourhood of the Somali capital Mogadishu, official and witnesses said on Tuesday.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the shelling late on Monday, the latest in a string of attacks in the anarchic capital, where diehard Al-Qaeda allied Shabaab insurgents have launched guerrilla assaults on the government.
“Seven people were killed and nine others injured, it was a disaster that shocked everyone,” said Dahir Adan, a witness.
“Four of the victims were my close relatives. A mother, father and their two sons have all died and two others were injured. We don’t know where the mortar round came from,” said Abdikarin Gaas, who lives near the scene of the attack.
Somali security officials said they were investigating.
The Islamist Shabaab abandoned most of their fixed positions in Mogadishu in August, but have vowed to continue to battle the Western-backed government, who are protected by an 11,000 strong African Union force.
Despite the series of attacks, much of Mogadishu has been relatively peaceful since the Shabaab pull out, with businesses resuming, buildings being renovated and people able to move about more freely.
The seaside capital has suffered the worst of Somalia’s 21 years of chaos that erupted with the ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre.
In recent months, the international community has revamped efforts to resolve the protracted unrest that has resulted in the country being carved up by warlords, extremist militia and pirates ruling vast regions.
With the term of the current transitional government due to expire in August, Somali leaders are working to establish a new administration which it is hoped will have a nationwide authority.