News24

Four Somalis killed in rebel ambush

2012-01-20 22:12

Mogadishu - Somali Islamist gunmen ambushed a convoy of government officials and journalists on Friday during intense fighting in Mogadishu, killing three soldiers and an official, an AFP photographer said.

"We were heading to the frontline when our convoy was ambushed by Shabaab fighters, an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] struck one vehicle," the photographer said, adding that he saw four bodies.

The trip to the frontline, where government troops and African Union forces launched attacks Friday on Islamist Shabaab positions, was organised by the Somali information ministry.

"Our convoy was ambushed by Shebab fighters - an RPG struck one vehicle and some government officials were killed," the photographer in the convoy said, adding the journalists escaped unharmed.

"It was chaotic, most of the trees along the road had been felled by mortar fire and houses were damaged," he added.

"We escaped unhurt and ran until we reached an area with AU government and troops. We got into a vehicle and returned to the city."

Heavy fighting broke out at dawn as troops supported by tanks and artillery from the African Union Mission in Somalia moved into the capital's northern Heliwa and Gupta suburbs, still held by the Al-Qaeda linked Shebab.

Hardline Shebab fighters abandoned fixed positions in most of Mogadishu last August but continue to control small pockets on the outskirts.