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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 15:10 GMT
Somali herders hit by air attacks
A handout picture released by the US navy shows an F/A-18C Hornet landing
Pastoralists say there have been air strikes since Sunday
Following US air strikes in southern Somalia targeting suspected al-Qaeda leaders, several herding areas have been hit by bombs.

An elder in Banka-Jiira, a grazing area about 40km east of Doble town, who wished to remain anonymous citing security reasons, gave an account of the raids and their aftermath to the BBC's Somali Service.

There have been air strikes carried out by American planes in these areas since Sunday.

Here in the Banka-Jiira area, which is the largest grazing area in the Juba Valley region, we have been hard hit.

There have been several air strikes over nearby Booji grazing area too.

The most unfortunate incident was an attack on a big wedding ceremony.

A camel in Somalia
Very many livestock have been killed by the bombs
We have information that the American planes are being directed from the ground by soldiers who are moving among the herders at night.

We do not have the figures of the dead animals as a result of the air strikes but they are very many livestock that have been killed by the bombs.

And on Tuesday morning, a man who has lost a limb was brought in for treatment at Banka-Jiira's health centre.

A driver in his car has also been blown up in the attack.

When the Islamist militia fled Doble about a week ago they passed through this area.

Ethiopian and government forces who were pursuing them forced about 10 young men from here to show them the escape route the Islamist fighters took.

They forcefully took away the young men and out of the 10 who went with the soldiers, only one has managed to return following the heaving fighting.

Up to now we have no idea where the rest of these young people are.


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