January 24, 2009 / 11:21 AM / 9 years ago

Suicide car bomb kills 14 in Mogadishu: witnesses

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A suicide car bomb aimed at African Union (AU) peacekeepers in the Somali capital missed its target and killed 14 civilians on Saturday, witnesses said.

Islamist insurgents have been battling the country’s Western-backed interim government since the start of 2007, and have stepped up attacks since the administration’s Ethiopian military allies withdrew from Mogadishu this month.

Abdifatah Shaweye, the city’s deputy governor, told Reuters that policemen stationed near an AU base opened fire on the bomb-laden car as it approached, after which it crashed and blew up. Thirteen civilians and a policeman were killed, he said.

“I could see smoke rising near the AU base,” witness Abbas Farah said. At least 30 people were wounded, doctors said.

An AU force spokesman said no peacekeepers had been hurt.

Reporting by Abdi Guled, Ibrahim Mohamed and Abdi Sheikh; Writing by Daniel Wallis; editing by Michael Roddy

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