25/10/08 (B471) Shabelle : les insurgés attaquent Baïdo au mortier. Insurgents attack Baidoa airport with mortars (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Mortar shells rained down Friday evening on the airport in Baidoa, the seat of the parliament, about 250kms south of Mogadishu, residents told Shabelle.

“A sudden bang suddenly broke out in Baidoa with consecutive blasts alternatively near the airport,” Madey Jesow, a shopkeeper in Baidoa, told Shabelle by telephone. “The Ethiopian troops and the government soldiers cordoned off the vicinity of the palace, the roads are empty, business is closed and the tension in the capital is high.”

A military spokesman in Baidoa who requested to remain unnamed, confirmed the attack through a telephone interview. He said there were no casualties reported but he confirmed that four shells landed in and around the airfield.

Residents reported this morning that five injured government soldiers were admitted at the hospital in the town.

Baidoa is the seat of the Somali parliament where many of members of parliament are based and it is the second time in the recent past that the place has been attacked since after the Islamists were chased out of south and central Somalia in late 2006 with the help of Ethiopian troops.

Southern and central Somali towns have been the hardest-hit with insurgent attacks, including roadside bombings, assassinations and guerilla-type attacks against the government forces and their Ethiopian allies. But in recent months, more attacks have been reported in the countryside, including in the Bay region and other regions in central Somalia.