Six killed as Ethiopian troops fire on minibus in Somalia

August 14th, 2008 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Mogadishu (Somalia), Aug 14 (DPA) Six civilians were killed and four wounded when Ethiopian troops opened fired on a minibus just south of this Somali capital, witnesses said Thursday. They said the troops “opened fire indiscriminately”, shortly after a gun battle between Islamic insurgents and Ethiopian soldiers protecting a convoy.

Yusuf Haji, a resident in the town of Walaweyn, told DPA that the minibus was attacked late Wednesday evening as it passed through an area near the scene of an earlier gunfight.

Militants have been waging a guerrilla war since Ethiopian troops helped the government oust the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) in late 2006.

The interim government has been unable to achieve stability in the Horn of Africa country, which has been plagued by chaos and civil war since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.

Aid organizations estimate that around 6,000 civilians have died and hundreds of thousands have fled Mogadishu in the last year of fighting.

A peace deal was agreed between moderate Islamists and the government in early June, but al-Shabaab, the armed wing of the UIC, has not signed the agreement.

Officials from both the government and opposition are due to meet this weekend in neighbouring Djibouti in an attempt to bring peace closer.

However, al-Shabaab has vowed to keep fighting until Ethiopian troops leave Somalia and few observers expect that the peace deal will bring about a reduction in violence.

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