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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 16:01 GMT
Five killed in Mogadishu attacks
Somali doctor treats man wounded in gun attack. File photo
There have been numerous attacks in Mogadishu recently
Unknown gunmen have killed five people in a series of attacks in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, witnesses say.

A BBC correspondent saw three bodies with gunshot wounds lying in waste ground and reliable witnesses have seen two more bodies elsewhere in the city.

Four people were also injured in mortar attacks. Insecurity has increased since the ousting of Islamists last month.

Meanwhile, South Africa says it does not have the troops to contribute to an African Union peacekeeping force.

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said it might try to support the mission in other ways, such as technical support.

The AU force would replace Ethiopian troops, who have started to withdraw after helping the interim government drive out the Union of Islamic Courts from Mogadishu and most of southern Somalia.

POSSIBLE PEACEKEEPERS
Nine battalions proposed - up to 9,000 troops:
Uganda: 1,500 troops offered, subject to parliamentary approval
Malawi: Up to 1,000 troops offered
Nigeria: 1,000 troops offered
Ghana: Reportedly offered troops
Tanzania: Considering
Rwanda: Considering
South Africa: Not sending troops
Some UIC leaders have said they would stage a guerrilla war and it is believed that some 3,000 Islamist fighters remain in Mogadishu.

There have been several attacks on Ethiopian and government troops but those killed overnight were civilians.

Four were killed in at least two attacks in south Mogadishu, the other body was found in the north of the city.

Police Commissioner Ali Mohamed Hassan Loyan said the attackers were "hell-bent on undermining the security of the country. The police will track them down."

But government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that there were not enough police officers to cover Mogadishu.

This week, an Ethiopian soldier was killed in the southern city of Kismayo, while mortars were fired at Mogadishu's main airport.

After 15 years of lawlessness in Somalia, the UIC had restored some security to the capital after taking control of the city last June.

But they were accused of sheltering al-Qaeda militants responsible for the 1998 attacks on US embassies in East Africa.

They denied the charges.

Food aid blocked

Meanwhile, the UN's World Food Programme says it is concerned that trucks carrying 3,500 tonnes of food aid for Somalia are being held up at the Kenyan border.

The Kenyans closed the border on 2 January, to block fleeing Islamist fighters.

WFP spokesman Peter Smerdon told the BBC that the conflict in southern Somalia was preventing help reaching some 190,000 people.

On Thursday, AU chairman Alpha Oumar Konare appealed to countries across the continent to help get troops deployed to Somalia.

He said troops, funding and other resources like aircraft were needed to ensure peacekeepers could be deployed soon to avert a tragedy.

He said Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana and Malawi had now offered to send peacekeeping troops.




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