News24

Grenade attack kills one in Somali port

2012-10-31 18:11

Mogadishu - Militants hurled a grenade in a busy market in the Somali port city and former Islamist bastion of Kismayo, killing one and wounding at least four others, officials said on Wednesday.

Witnesses said the grenade attack, which took place late on Tuesday, was targeting Somali troops, but that the casualties were civilians.

"It was a busy market area...one person died and four others were rushed to hospital," said Ali Agey, a witness.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but the al Qaeda-linked Shebaab have launched a series of guerrilla attacks in recent months, even as they have been forced to pull out of a string of key towns.

Desperate criminals

"They threw a grenade near civilians... four people were injured," said Abdinasir Serar, spokesperson for the city administration.

"These criminals are desperate... the only thing they can do is harm the innocent."

The extremists lost control of Kismayo in September to Kenyan troops with the African Union force, fighting alongside allied Somali forces.

AU troops continue to push forward into Shebaab-held areas, although the extremists still control large areas of rural southern and central Somalia.

At the same time, Somalia's newly elected president and parliament - set up in September in a UN-backed process - are struggling to rebuild stability after more than two decades of anarchy and war.