January 20, 2007

Heavy explosions targeted at Somalia’s presidential palace

Aweys Osman Yusuf
Mogadishu 20, Jan.07 ( Sh.M.Network) -Heavy mortar fire was targeted at Somalia’s presidential compound in the capital Mogadishu on Friday night. The explosions could be heard throughout the capital last night.

Unknown gunmen attacked the presidential palace, using artillery fire and random gunshots. The presidential guards reacted quickly brush firing, while Ethiopian troops supported by tanks soon blocked the roads and neighborhoods closer to the Villa where President Abdulahi Yusuf currently stays.

Reports say the government and Ethiopian troops went after the attackers after the incident. Residents near the villa have reported that several houses were hit by the mortar rounds during the skirmishes.

So far, one person was wounded.

Some of the government officials have told Shabelle that last night’s explosions hurt nobody or caused no casualties.

Mogadishu has only been quiet for three nights in the past week as the government initiated disarming the warlords who promised they would support and join the government, while their militias would be united with the national army.

The explosions came as Ethiopian premier Males Zenawi says he is determined to withdraw his troops from Somalia in the few days to come.

Many Somalis doubt if the Somali government that has no military might would be able to fill in the vacuum of power if the Ethiopians leave before the replacement African peacekeepers land in Somalia.

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