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Grenade Attack Kills 4 in Somalia


A grenade attack in the Somali town of Baidoa has killed at least four people and wounded at least 13 others.

Witnesses say the attackers tossed grenades into a busy market Thursday. A journalist in Baidoa told VOA that the attack was aimed at local police.

Islamist insurgents have waged an increasingly successful campaign against the Somali government over the past two years. President Abdullahi Yusuf recently said his government controls only two cities: the capital, Mogadishu, and Baidoa, where the parliament sits.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia has announced its intention withdraw its troops from Somalia by the end of this year.

African and Western diplomats tell VOA that Ethiopia delivered the letter to the African Union and United Nations several days ago.

Ethiopia sent thousands of troops into Somalia in 2006 to help the government battle Islamist forces.

Many African diplomats have said they fear the Ethiopian pullout could lead to the total collapse of the Somali government. AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping told reporters Wednesday that Ethiopia has promised to keep troops on the Somali border, poised to re-enter the country if necessary.

Meanwhile, police in the Somali region of Puntland are searching for four kidnapped journalists, including a Briton and a Spaniard. Unidentified gunmen abducted the journalists as they left a hotel on Wednesday. The two other victims are Somalis who were working with the Europeans.

Puntland's presidential media advisor told VOA the group was traveling without armed security guards when they were kidnapped.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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