Bomb Blast Kills 7 Near Somali Capital

Friday, March 16th 2007, 7:37 am
By: News On 6

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) _ Seven people, including four children, were killed when a bomb blast destroyed two houses near Somalia's violent capital, police said Friday.

The seven were watching television when the explosion occurred.

``It was awful,'' said Mohamed Ali Roble, a relative of the family who had fled the growing violence in Mogadishu last month to stay with relatives in Afgoye, a 18 miles to the east. ``They were all lying in a pool of blood.''

Police say the explosion was caused by a bomb but are still investigating.

``It was a bomb but we do not know what happened,'' said police official Aden Obile Ahmed. ``Seven people were killed and one woman lost a leg in the blast,'' he said.

Insecurity in Somalia has been growing since the transitional government, backed by Ethiopian forces, drove out a rival Islamic movement late last year.

Hundreds of civilians have been caught in the crossfire of increasingly violent attacks between insurgents and government forces, according to recently released figures by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Around 40,000 people have fled the violence in Mogadishu in the last month alone, according to the United Nations.

Meanwhile a leading Somali human rights activist has been shot dead, the U.N. and human rights groups said Friday. The groups condemned the killing of Isse Abdi Isse, who they said was shot dead by two gunmen on Wednesday while drinking tea near a hotel where he was staying in the capital, Mogadishu.

``Isse championed human rights causes in the region for many years and his death is undoubtedly a loss to all Somalis who at this time are seeking peace and reconciliation,'' said Eric Laroche, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.

Laroche said civil society groups were increasingly becoming the targets of attacks because of the work they are doing in the country.

Isse was the chairman and founder of the Kasima Peace and Development Organization, which was based in the southern port city of Kismayo.

``The situation of human rights violations in Somalia is worsening,'' said Ahmed Kiimiko, the Chairman Somali Human Rights Defenders Network.

``Killings, robbery, kidnapping, the creation of anarchy, rapes and subjugation of personal rights have increased recently.''