Tuesday, November 21, 2006

6 Ethiopia soldiers killed and wounded 20 others in Somalia

Somali Islamic fighters ambushed an Ethiopian military convoy on Sunday, killing six Ethiopian soldiers and wounding 20 others, eyewitnesses said, in the first known skirmish between the rival forces manoeuvring for control in Somalia. AP reported on Sunday.

Two Ethiopian trucks were destroyed by land mines before Islamic fighters opened fire on the convoy, which eyewitnesses told The Associated Press was made up of more than 80 vehicles and headed for the Somali government town of Baidoa, 250 kilometres (150 miles) west of the capital, Mogadishu.

Islamic courts spokesman Sheik Abdirahim Ali Mudey told the AP that four Ethiopian trucks were destroyed and some soldiers were killed, but denied that his group was responsible for the attack.

He said it was "a popular uprising" by village residents opposed to Ethiopian troops inside Somalia. Ethiopian officials were not immediately available for comment.

There has been a heightened tension in Somalia and fears that an all-out war could engulf the region. Ethiopia backs the transitional government, whose authority has been severely challenged by an Islamic movement that has taken over the capital and much of southern Somalia since June.



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