Attack on Somali port kills 1 civilian

AP News
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Posted: Jun 09, 2011 10:55 AM

Two men attacked a Somalia sea port in the country's capital Thursday with grenades and guns and a police official said one of the attackers blew himself up, killing a civilian.

Col. Ahmed Hassan, police chief of Mogadishu, said the two men jumped over the outer walls protecting the port, threw grenades and shot at African Union peacekeepers leading to an exchange of gunfire.

Hassan, who visited the site after the attack, said one of the attackers detonated explosives he was carrying. He said the other attacker was shot dead by AU peacekeepers.

Al-Qaida-linked Islamists are battling the weak U.N.-backed government for control of the capital of Mogadishu. Around 9,000 AU troops are stationed in the city to protect key installations and prevent the government from being overrun by militants.

Meanwhile Thursday, a security officer said a South African man he suspected to be a member of the country's al-Qaida-linked militant group was killed in Mogadishu this week.

Osman Nur Diriye said that two men riding in a luxury car pulled up to a government-run checkpoint in Mogadishu on Tuesday night. After security forces found a pistol on one of the men, gunfire was exchanged. Diriye said the Somali and South African died in the exchange of fire.

Diriye said he suspected he was a foreign fighter because he was with a Somali militant.

Hundreds of foreign fighters are swelling the ranks of al-Shabab militants who are trying in vain to topple the country's weak U.N.-backed government.

Somalia has been mired in violence since 1991, when the last central government collapsed.