African Union peacekeepers come under attack in Mogadishu

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Map showing the location of Somalia.

Ugandan troops arriving in Somalia as part of an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force, came under attack even before they went on patrol.

The Ugandan troops, 400 of whom arrived on Tuesday and another 400 the day after, were deployed to the capital Mogadishu as replacements for Ethiopian troops to support the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP).

Ethiopia intervened to help the TFP oust the Islamic Courts Union (IUC), which had held power for six months.

"Convoys of Ugandan troops were ambushed as they were passing the main junction in Mogadishu, and they exchanged heavy gunfire with the insurgents," said Shino Abdukadir, an eyewitness.

Somalia's Deputy Defense Minister Salad Ali Jelle said the Ugandan troops suffered no casualties. There were 10 civilians killed in the attack.

Assane Ba of the African Union said: "The AU has promised to deploy in Somalia and in Mogadishu. The attacks and threats do not set back the deployment."

A Mogadishu radio station broadcast a message from IUC member and Hizbul Shabaab leader, Aden Hashi Ayro, calling for attacks on the peacekeepers. "It is time for the Somali youth to fight the occupation by Ethiopia and others. The Muslims shall not surrender to non-believers."