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Somali Militants attack parliament

17 May 2010 3:17

Militants have raided Somalia’s parliament building in Mogadishu where MPs voted to oust the speaker, prompting clashes that led to the killing of at least 11 civilians.

Al Shabab fighters pounded a newly built parliament building with heavy mortar shells as Somali lawmakers were making final preparations to hold a parliamentary session for the first time in 20 years.

“Several artillery salvos and mortars hit Bakara market. Eleven civilians were killed and 52 wounded,” said Ali Muse, head of the Mogadishu ambulance service, quoted in an AFP report.

Government soldiers and African Union (AU) peacekeepers mounted retaliatory attacks in the Mogadishu’s southern Bakara area, largely regarded as one of the main strongholds of militants, according to officials and medical officers.

“The terrorists tried to attack the parliament building but the government forces defeated them and many of their fighters were killed in the clashes,” Ali Hassan, a government security official, told AFP.

The Somali parliament was rocked by havoc after some 320 of its 550 members met at a hotel, calling for the ouster of its speaker Sheik Adan Mohamed Nur, who had asked the President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to pick a new prime minster.

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