24/08/08 (B462) SHABELLE / Une explosion à Mogadiscio manque de peu des soldats ougandais dl’AMISOM / Explosion in Mogadishu misses peacekeepers (En Anglais – Info lectrice)

A Ugandan AMISOM soldiers survived a bombing Saturday morning that destroyed the street they were passing near the international airport in Mogadishu shortly after they stepped out, the eyewitnesses said.

AMISOM spokesman told Shabelle that the bomb exploded seconds after the soldiers passed the street.

The troops opened fire immediately after the explosion was heard.

Losses sustained in the explosion targeting AMISOM troops in KM 4 are not yet known,

The spokesman of AMISOM troops in Somalia Major Brigye Bo-hoku told Shabelle that their no losses in that explosion.

“The explosion missed as our troops have came back from de-mining operation” Bo-hoku said” explosions are common in Mogadishu”

An African Union (AU) peacekeeper from Uganda was killed weeks ago when a roadside bomb struck his convoy in the capital Mogadishu, an AU officer told Shabelle.

« The AU forces convoy was coming from the airport when it was targeted by a roadside bomb, » the officer said on condition of anonymity.

« One of the soldiers died in the attack, he was from the Ugandan contingent, » he added.

Several eyewitnesses confirmed the attack along one of the war-scarred Somali capital’s most heavily guarded routes.

« A convoy of six vehicles was targeted as it was coming from the airport, » said local resident Mohamed Ali Nur.

« One of the vehicles was destroyed. I saw AU forces sealing off the area but I couldn’t know how many people were hurt, » he added.

The AU, which currently has some 2,600 peacekeepers deployed in the lawless Horn of Africa nation, deplored the killing.

« The AU unequivocally condemns this cowardly and barbaric act perpetrated against an AMISOM peacekeeper deployed in Mogadishu to safeguard Somali lives, » it said in a statement.

It added that the incident « will not deter the AU, the people of Somalia and the UN in their determination and commitment to intensify their efforts towards reconciliation, peace and stability, in line with the recently concluded agreement in Djibouti. »

Uganda was the first country to contribute troops and Burundi dispatched its own forces earlier this year, but the contingent falls far short of the 8,000 soldiers pledged by the continental body in 2006.

A truce was signed in June between the Ethiopian-backed transitional government and the main Islamist political opposition movement.

The agreement led to a splinter in opposition ranks, with hardliners insisting Ethiopian troops that have occupied the country since late 2006 should leave before peace talks can begin.