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Plane Transporting Peacekeepers Catches Fire in Somali Capital


A plane transporting several African Union peacekeepers to Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, caught fire Friday, but the blaze does not appear to have caused any injuries.

Reports from the capital say the plane caught fire shortly after landing. A spokesman for the Ugandan peacekeepers said the fire appeared to be the result of a mechanical problem, and not insurgent fire.

Somali insurgents have targeted the first 350 African Union peacekeepers from the time they landed in the capital on Tuesday.

The insurgents are believed to be a mix of defeated Islamists and clan leaders resisting the transitional government.

The AU is trying to help Somalia's government stabilize the country in the face of challenges from clans and the remnants of a recently defeated Islamist movement.

The AU hopes to assemble 8,000 troops for the peacekeeping mission. But so far, AU member nations have raised only about half that number.

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