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At Least Two Dead After Mogadishu Suicide Attack
MOGADISHU, March 27, 2007 (AFP) - Two cars exploded in overnight attacks on an Ethiopian military compound in Mogadishu, killing an apparent suicide attacker and a taxi driver who was shot when Ethiopian troops retaliated, officials said Tuesday.
"A suicide car targeted an Ethiopian military compound, crossed the checkpoint and hit a wall at the main gate. The car exploded, the driver was killed but we don't know if there was fatality on the Ethiopian side," said a senior Somali military officer, who requested anonymity.
"Another car in the same area which was abandoned exploded at night without damaging anybody."
An Ethiopian officer confirmed the attacks had taken place at an Ethiopian base in Darmole, in the northern outskirts of Mogadishu, and said troops had fired back to defend themselves, killing a taxi driver.
Residents said the taxi driver had not been involved in the attack but had been near the second car that exploded.
"It was very difficult for everybody to tell whether he was an attacker or not," said resident Ahmed Gutale.
"these kinds of attacks will further complicate the situation in Mogadishu," said another resident, Abdillahi Mumil.
Somali soldiers closed part of the road, a major highway leading from Mogadishu to the northern Puntland region, to carry out further checks after the attacks.
A shaky ceasefire has been in place in Mogadishu since Friday after a week of some of the deadliest insurgent attacks since Ethiopian-Somali troops drove out an Islamist movement from south and central Somalia over the New Year.
Somalia 's powerful Hawiye clan on Tuesday asked the government to release an unknown number of its fighters a day after releasing 18 government forces captured during bloody clashes last week.
The Hawiye on Friday made a ceasefire deal with Ethiopian troops backing the Somali government.
A bloody power struggle that followed the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre exploded into a full-scale civil war that has defied more than 14 attempts to restore a functional government in Somalia.