4 killed in Mogadishu on eve of peace talks

Four people were killed in Mogadishu Wednesday in continuing violence a day before the resumption of the troubled peace talks.Grenade explosions killed two civilians and a soldier in the volatile Bakara market, while another civilian was gunned down in southern Mogadishu’s Baruha district, said witnesses.

“Three grenade explosions occurred in a medicine store and two civilians were killed, one of them a young boy. Four others were wounded, two of them seriously,” said market trader Ali Hirsi Aden.

In a separate incident, a grenade attack killed one member of a Somali army patrol in the sprawling market, which has been under near-daily attacks.

“It exploded, killing one soldier on the spot and wounding six civilians who were just passing by,” said witness Ahmed Ibrahim.

Gunmen executed a man in Baruha neighbourhood, the latest in a string of attacks that have rocked Mogadishu since Ethiopian-backed Somali forces ousted an Islamist movement in late April after fierce fighting.

“A man who was holding a child was shot two times on the head and chest before he died,” said Hassan Ali, a resident.

The violence erupted as delegates prepared to resume talks in northern Mogadishu on Thursday aimed at brokering lasting stability in Somalia, a nation that has been essentially lawless since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohammad Siad Barre.

The raging violence has killed 11 people and wounded dozens since Monday.

On Sunday, attackers fired seven mortar shells in Mogadishu, two of which exploded near the venue of the peace talks as Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was addressing the parley.

But organisers adjourned the talks to Thursday, saying some delegates had not arrived.

Fearing a surge in violence targeting the conference and a threat by Islamic Courts Union (ICU) militants to kill the delegates, hundreds of Somali families have fled the capital over the past few days.

The UN refugee agency said it had established a refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia to cater for Somalis crowded in makeshift settlements near the border.

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