Blasts, aircraft heard in South Somalia

2011-06-23 20:24

Mogadishu - Huge explosions were heard early on Thursday near the southern Somali town of Kismayo, followed by the sound of aircraft, a local elder and an Islamist official said.

"We heard huge explosions. Then a few minutes later we heard the sound of aircraft. We are not yet sure what it was," Abdulahi Ise, the elder, said.

He added that the explosions came early in the morning in the area of Qandal, a few kilometres outside Kismayo, a port town controlled by al-Qaeda linked Shabaab Islamists.

A Shabaab official in the Kismayo area said his men had reported an aerial bombing raid on a Shabaab base.

"The military aircraft of the enemy carried out an aerial bombardment on a base where some mujahedeen fighters were staying. Initial reports indicate several mujahedeen fighters including muhajirs [foreigners] died," the official said, refusing to be named.

"We believe the aircraft belonged to the US," he added.

In January 2007 a US air raid left dozens of people dead at Ras Kamboni in the far south of Somalia. It was coupled with a second raid 155km further north.

One of the presumed targets of those raids was al-Qaeda's chief in east Africa Fazul Abdullah Muhammad, who was gunned down earlier this month in a shoot-out at a roadblock in Mogadishu after he made a wrong turn.

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