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Islamists Blow Up Ethiopian Truck In Somalia-Residents
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MOGADISHU, Nov 30, 2006 – Somali Islamists blew up an Ethiopian army truck with a landmine, killing several soldiers traveling from the town of Baidoa to a military camp nearby, residents said on Thursday.

If confirmed, the attack would be the latest in a series of small clashes reported in the Horn of Africa nation that diplomats fear could escalate into all-out war at any time.

Residents said the attack happened on Wednesday evening and reported seeing ambulances driving to the scene, between Baidoa, the seat of the interim government, and Manaas town where some of its troops are based.

"I saw an Ethiopian truck pass the town of Goof Gaduud. A few minutes later I heard a big explosion and I saw lots of smoke," resident Abdillahi Abdi told Reuters by telephone. "I also saw vehicles carrying the injured and the dead."

The number of casualties was not immediately known.

Neither the Islamists, nor Ethiopia, nor the interim Somali government had any immediate comment on the reported incident.

The Islamists, who control the capital Mogadishu, say Ethiopia has sent thousands of troops into Somalia, while Addis Ababa insists it has only sent several hundred military trainers for President Abdillahi Yusuf's Baidoa-based administration.

Amid the heightening tension in Somalia, the U.N. Security Council pledged on Wednesday to consider steps to tighten a widely ignored 1992 U.N. arms embargo on the chaotic nation.

That surprised some diplomats, who suggested Washington was pushing for the embargo to be modified to allow an African-led peacekeeping force into Somalia.

The Islamists -- who seized Mogadishu and much of the south in June in a direct challenge to the government's authority -- bitterly oppose foreign fighters operating in Somalia.

Yusuf's virtually powerless government voted on Wednesday to support proposals that would let east African peacekeepers enter Somalia.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since the fall of former dictator Siyad Barre in 1991 sparked the collapse of the country into a patchwork of quarrelling fiefdoms.

Source: Reuters


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