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Four Somalis Dead After Ethiopian Troops Open Fire


Witnesses in central Somalia say at least four civilians were killed Wednesday when Ethiopian troops opened fire on a crowd after a landmine went off under their convoy.

Security officials say the mine was set off by remote control as the convoy traveled through the town of Beledweyne, about 300 kilometers north of the capital, Mogadishu. The officials say several Ethiopian soldiers were injured in the blast.

Witnesses say after the blast, the troops began firing indiscriminately into a group of civilians. They say the soldiers later sealed the area to investigate.

The Somali interim government is struggling to impose its authority in the Horn of Africa nation, which has gone 16 years without an effective central government.

The government and its Ethiopian allies declared victory over Islamist insurgents in the capital last month, but have not been able to fully stop the violence.

On Tuesday, a gunman killed the head of a Somali court in Beledweyne. In Mogadishu, a police officer was killed as police exchanged fire with gunmen in the Blacksea neighborhood.

The government has scheduled a national reconciliation conference for June 16. But the government has warned the conference may be postponed for a second time because of insufficent funding from Western nations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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