August 28, 2011 / 1:07 PM / 8 years ago

Bomb misses AU force in Mogadishu, kills woman

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A roadside bomb apparently targeting a convoy of African Union peacekeepers killed a woman on Sunday in the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses said.

Abdulle Mantaan, a staff officer at a nearby food distribution centre, told Reuters the remote-controlled bomb had detonated as the second of two AU force armoured vehicles drove by. A male passerby was also wounded.

Although al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab rebels withdrew from the capital earlier this month after waging a four-year insurgency against Western-backed government troops and AU peacekeepers, security in Mogadishu is far from stable.

Al Shabaab has said the pullout was tactical, and analysts expect the rebels to reappear in the capital as a guerrilla force launching suicide bomb attacks.

“We heard a big bomb blast near us ... We took (the wounded man and woman) to Keysane hospital where the woman died of wounds after minutes. That mother used to come to our feeding centre to collect biscuits for her malnourished children,” Mantaan said.

“The bomb was targeted at a convoy of AMISOM (AU peacekeeping forces). It detonated when the last car passed ... AMISOM soldiers glanced back at the scene but proceeded since the blast did not harm them,” he added.

The AU confirmed the attack.

“We are safe, there has been no damage or injury. We know al Shabaab have left more explosive devices so we are always vigilant,” deputy AU spokesman Prosper Hakizimana told Reuters.

On Saturday Somali police seized a car laden with explosives in an area that is considered the safest in Mogadishu, housing many U.N. agency houses and bases for AU peacekeepers.

Somalia has been plagued by violence since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Western agencies and neighbours in the region say Somalia is used as a safe haven for Islamist militants intent on attacks beyond the anarchic Horn of Africa country.

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