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MOGADISHU (AFP) — At least 22 civilians were killed Saturday in Mogadishu by a suicide car bomb targeting African Union peackeepers and the ensuing gunfight, an official and medics said.


The explosives-laden car was heading to a control point manned by the AU forces in Mogadishu's southern K4 intersection when a policeman opened fire at the vehicle which then rammed into a passenger bus.


Somali police chief Abdi Hassan Qeybdiid said the death toll from the explosion rose to 17 after three more people died of their wounds.


"We condemn this barbaric act which is not allowed by the Islam religion," he said.


Earlier, Mogadishu's deputy governor Abdifatah Ibrahim Shaweye said 14 civilians died in the blast.


Five civilians were also killed and 23 wounded in gunbattles between the peacekeepers and insurgents after the explosion, a doctor said.


"We collected five bodies and (admitted) 23 people injured during the fighting," said Ali Muse of the Mogadishu hospital.


Shaweye said the suicide bomber was a foreigner after an arm was retrieved from the car wreckage.


"We have one of his arms which is clearly showing that the suicide bomber was a foreigner," said Shaweye, referring to the bomber's pale skin.


Witness Ali Hasan Molaim said: "I saw the car pass by the bus I was boarding and it was heading towards the Ugandan forces, but some Somali policemen intercepted it and the car exploded destroying another bus."


"There was heavy explosion and clouds of smoke," he added.


AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra condemned the attack, the latest against the AU force known as AMISOM.


"We condemn this attack. A cowardly terrorist act that goes against achieving peace and stability in Somalia," Lamamra told AFP.


"There was an AMISOM truck in the area during the blast but so far there isn't any casualty on our side."


Nine AMISOM troops have been killed in Somalia since the first Ugandan contingent was deployed in March 2007. The Ugandans were reinforced by Burundian contingents in 2008.


The AU forces, comprising 3,400 soldiers, have often been targeted by Islamist insurgents since deploying to the war-wracked Somali capital.


Ethiopia, which sent troops into Somalia in late 2006 to prop up a weak transitional government against an Islamist movement, pulled out of Mogadishu earlier this month.


Their withdrawal had been one of the main demands of the country's Islamist-led opposition, but hardline militias have vowed to continue fighting against government forces and African peacekeepers.


The Ethiopian forces' pullout has also created a security vacuum drawing clan-based militias and warlords into a scramble for control over the capital's various districts.

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Check this photo on Garowe. a_27/Somalia_13_killed_in_Mogadishu_violence_trigg ered_by_suicide_bomber.shtml


I heard this story and watched it on Jazeera and was a bit puzzled. Do they look like they have any burn marks evidence of explosion? I don't think so. Their vehicle doesn't even have any dark marks. The story, on the other hand, mentions that after the explosion there was a 30 minute battle in which AMISOM tanks were used.


After the explosion AMISOM forces opened fire and killed and injured many. This is not a new tactic and has been used by AMISOM and the Ethiopian forces before. Whenever they are attacked or exploded, they open fire at whatever moves and take it out on the people. That also seems to be apparent in the picture. Check it out again...the cause for the death of those people definately doesn't seem to be from an explosion but rather could be from gunfire.


In addition, after the explosion, AMISOM continued their "peacekeeping" mission by bombing various places in Mogadishu including Bakara market for over two hours causing many casualties.


ps Isn't it ridiculous how they said that they know it was a foreigner because they found his arm and it was light skinned. First of all, that huge explosion is not going to effect his skin color? Second, don't these people know that somalis come in all colors and shapes and sizes.

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