January 06, 2007

One Killed In Mogadishu In Hand Grenade Attack

One person was killed Friday in Mogadishu in a hand grenade attack aimed at Ethiopian soldiers, amid reports of rising violence in the Somalian capital. Eyewitness reports cited by the SomaliNet agency said Ethiopian soldiers opened fire on attackers.

At the same time, residence in the city were reporting a rise in violence with the return of Islamist clan leaders who were setting up street blockades between the city's districts in order to extract passage money from people.

These developments came in the wake of the expiration Thursday of the government ultimatum to militants to turn over their weapons. Premier Ali Gedi has threatened to disarm the militants by force.

Meanwhile in Nairobi, an international contact group led by the Untied States and Norway gathered in order to review ways to resolve the Somalian crisis.

One of the issues is the establishment of an African peace force, although so far only Uganda has declared its readiness to provide troops.

In a related development, Nairobi rejected UN crticism over Kenya's turning back hundreds of Somalian refugees, including many women and children, at the border.

"There are no battles going on in Mogadishu or Kismayo," Foreign Minister Raphael Tuju in defending Kenya's actions.

In the meantime, 16 suspected Islamists have been taken into custody by Kenyan authorities. Reportedly, several hundred Islamists are believed to have taken refuge in the forest-covered peninsula Ras Komboni, close to the Kenyan border.

© 2007 DPA

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