MOGADISHU (AFP) — Islamic extremist insurgent attacks killed at least 10 people Tuesday in and around the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses and officials told AFP.
Three government soldiers and two civilians died when insurgents armed with machine guns and rockets ambushed a checkpoint manned by Somali soldiers around 15 kilometres (nine miles) south of Mogadishu.
"Heavily-armed insurgents attacked a checkpoint in Sinkadher. Three soldiers were killed and two civilians were caught in the crossfire," eyewitness Ali Muhidin Jama said, adding that seven other people were wounded.
A Somali police officer, Mohamed Ibrahim, confirmed the attack had taken place but was unable to provide a death toll.
"The terrorists attacked a checkpoint controlled by our forces this evening and there were casualties, but I cannot say how many for the moment," he said.
In a separate incident, a joint Somali and Ethiopian patrol was struck by a roadside bomb blast near a former military academy in southern Mogadishu.
"There was a heavy explosion near Kuliyadda Jale Siyad as Ethiopian and Somali forces were patrolling the area," said local resident Abdullahi Ibrahim.
"Minutes later, the Ethiopian forces retrieved five bodies from the blast scene. Three of them were Ethiopian while the other two were from the Somali forces," he said.
"The Ethiopian forces collected three of their soldiers after the explosion and two Somalis. They were firing shots to prevent people from coming close," said another witness, Shukri Adan Ali.
Further witnesses gave the same death toll and said Ethiopian forces arrested several people from neighbouring houses.
Ethiopian forces came to the rescue of Somalia's embattled transitional government in late 2006 and soon defeated an Islamist militia that had taken control of large parts of the Horn of Africa country.
The remnants of the militia have since waged guerrilla warfare against government forces, its Ethiopian allies and African Union peacekeepers, mainly in Mogadishu.
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