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Somalia

Suicide bomb kills 11 AU peacekeepers in Mogadishu

Article published on the 2009-02-23 Latest update 2009-02-24 07:22 TU

A dead civilian near the African Union peacekeepers base in Mogadishu(Photo: Reuters)

A dead civilian near the African Union peacekeepers base in Mogadishu
(Photo: Reuters)

Eleven Burundi peacekeepers were killed during a suicide bomb attack on Sunday, carried out by the Al-Shebab Islamist groupon an African Union base in Mogadishu. The AU and Burundi government have condemned the attacks, but say it will not deter their efforts in the country.

“Holding a press conference in Mogadishu, the spokesman of Al-Shebab group, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, said two of his fighters had carried out two suicide attacks, on one of the bases of the African Union peacekeepers,” says correspondent Mohamed Sheikh Nur.

Correspondent: Mohamed Sheikh Nur

23/02/2009

Fifteen other soldiers were also injured in the assault, which happened when the attackers drove a vehicle into the camp and detonated it as troops were offloading supplies.

“Residents close to the base, said they could hear the sound of two large explosions and saw huge smoke they sent into the air,” Nur told RFI from Mogadishu.

The Burundi government condemned the attack.

“Attacks by these evil forces will not deter Burundi or the African Union to help Somalis,” says a Burundian government statement, adding “we will reinforce our contingent with material and personnel.”

The AU force in the country is made up of Burundian and Ugandan troops, but is more than 4,000 soldiers short of its planned size.

It has suffered from underfunding and lack of equipment since the start of the Somali civil war in 1991.

A civilian being carried near the African Union peacekeepers base in Mogadishu(Photo: Reuters)

A civilian being carried near the African Union peacekeepers base in Mogadishu
(Photo: Reuters)

“The AU forces in Mogadishu has a restricted mandate, guarding key governments installations, and has not been involved in a lot of the violence in the capital, during which thousands of civilians have been killed over the past two years,” Nur told RFI.

The AU also condemned the attack, the worse since the force’s deployment.

Al-Shebab rejected the country’s newly elected leader President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and continues to hold positions in the coastal city.