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Seven soldiers killed in IED blast in southern Somalia       

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Seven Somali soldiers were killed and two others injured on Thursday when a military vehicle ran into an improvised explosive device (IED) in Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, officials said.

A police officer, who did not want to be named, told Xinhua by phone that the soldiers were traveling outside Wanlaweyn town when the attack happened.

“I can confirm that seven soldiers have been killed in the blast,” said the officer. “They were traveling outside the town,” he added.

Eyewitness Amina Ahmed told Xinhua that the explosion could be heard from a distance, causing panic in the area.

“Everyone was scared since the blast was so heavy. We learnt that soldiers were killed,” she said.

The attack comes barely a day after a bomb blast killed at least 15 people in the town which is located some 90 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu. The attack happened at a market Wednesday evening.

Ali Nur, deputy governor of the Lower Shabelle region also confirmed that the soldiers were traveling in a pickup vehicle which hit the explosive device on their way to Afgoye town.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the militant group has in the recent past set explosive devices on roads used by both the Somali army and their African Union counterparts.



Five people killed in a military operation

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Five people were killed on Thursday in a military operation in southern Somalia, local officials have said.

South West state Information Minister Ugas Hasan Abdi said the military were pursuing the militant group al-Shabab in Ma’alinka village which lied between Afgoye and Barire towns in southern Somalia.

“The Somalia security forces conducted the attack, and the target was the terrorist group of al-Shabab. We are trying to establish more details on it,” said Abdi.

Residents said there was a huge blast in the village followed by heavy fighting. “There was heavy blasts and then exchange of gunfire,” a resident Mohamed Nur told Xinhua. “Several people were killed during the attack.”

The authorities in Mogadishu have not issued an official comment on the latest attack.

At least 10 people were killed in Barire last year forcing the government to compensate the families after it admitted those killed were civilians. The U.S. government however maintained the dead were al-Shabab terrorists.

Five people killed in military operation in southern Somalia.


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