Somali president attacked at Mogadishu airport

June 1st, 2008 - 9:42 pm ICT by admin  

Mogadishu, June 1 (Xinhua) Two people were injured after several mortar shells were fired by suspected Islamist insurgents at the convoy of Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed at Mogadishu airport, an official said Sunday. “The president was unhurt in the attack but one Ugandan peacekeeper was slightly injured at the airport,” Mohamed Mohamoud Hubsired, presidential spokesman, told Xinhua.

The president was flying to Djibouti for talks with the opposition.

“The president left for Djibouti safe and sound, the plot of the anti-peace elements failed,” the spokesman said.

Witnesses said one civilian was injured after presidential guards opened fire at the gunmen who tried to attack the presidential motorcade on the Maka al-mukarama Streets in the south of the capital on its way to the airport.

There was another attack on the motorcade near the airport when the president’s plane was about to take off.

Spokesman for the African Union peacekeepers in Somalia, Major Barigye Bahoku, confirmed the attack, but denied any casualties on the peacekeepers.

The Somali president was flying to Djibouti for the second round of UN sponsored talks with members of the opposition.

The hardline members of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia have boycotted the talks, saying they will not negotiate with Somali transitional government until Ethiopian troops, who are currently deployed in Somalia, withdraw.

Other members of the opposition, including the leader of the alliance, are attending the talks in the capital of Djibouti. They agreed to talk with the government on reconciliation and power sharing.

Nearly 2,600 African Union peacekeepers are currently deployed in Mogadishu. The troops from Uganda and Burundi are part of a planned UN authorised 8,000-strong African Union peacekeepers.

Other African countries that pledged to contribute did not send their contingents due to logistical and security concerns. Plans are underway to replace the African Union peacekeepers with UN peacekeepers at a later date.

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