30 May 2007 09:04:07 GMT
By Guled Mohamed
MOGADISHU, May 30 (Reuters) – A roadside bomb blast tore through a convoy carrying Ethiopian [Woyanne] troops in a central Somali town on Wednesday, seriously wounding five soldiers, a security source said.
Baladwayne resident Osman Adan said he could see thick black smoke billowing from the scene of the explosion, which the security source said was caused by a remote-controlled landmine.
“An Ethiopian [Woyanne] truck was blown up. … The Ethiopian [Woyanne] troops immediately opened fire indiscriminately with heavy machine-guns … I do not know if any soldiers were wounded or killed,” Adan said, adding that two civilians were hurt in the shooting.
Ethiopian [Woyanne] soldiers cordoned off the area after the blast and carried out door-to-door searches in nearby streets, he said.
The security source in Mogadishu said one Ethiopian [Woyanne] truck was destroyed by an anti-tank mine.
“There were five troops on board. There were seriously wounded,” said the security source, who asked not to be named.
Insurgents from an ousted militant Islamist movement have increasingly adopted the tactics of Iraqi guerrillas since the interim Somali government and its Ethiopian [Woyanne] allies forced them out of the capital Mogadishu in December after a brief war.
The rebels have struck government buildings, convoys and Ugandan peacekeepers patrolling for the African Union (AU).
Most attacks have taken place in the seaside city, and local media said a Somali soldier was shot dead by unknown gunmen late on Tuesday near its sprawling Bakara Market.
On Monday, a senior court official from Baladwayne was also killed by gunmen in Mogadishu. His funeral was taking place on Wednesday in the town, 190 miles (300 km) north of the capital.
President Abdullahi Yusuf’s government is struggling to impose central rule on the Horn of Africa nation, in anarchy since warlords kicked out dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
Ethiopia [Woyanne] says it wants its forces to leave once the AU force is up to strength, or at least at half its planned 8,000 troops.
But other African nations have been wary of sending more soldiers, especially after four Ugandan peacekeepers were killed two weeks ago by a roadside bomb targeting their convoy.