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Deadly attack on Somalia school kills 9


Mogadishu : Witnesses in a town in Somalia say suspected members of the Union of Islamic Courts have shot dead four foreigners and five Somalis during an attack on a local school. The killings happened in Beledwayne, about 300 km north of the capital Mogadishu yesterday.

Somali police confirmed the incident, saying that heavily armed Muslim fighters seized Beledwayne and killed four foreign passport holders.

Abdi Aden Adow, the police chief, said two of the dead had British passports and were of Somali origin, while the other two were Kenyan nationals. “The insurgents were able to enter the town easily,” he said, “because the government forces retreated to the Somali-Ethiopian border earlier as they received information that the militants were heading the town.” Abdi-qani Hashi, a resident of Beledwayne, said the fighters entered the town late on Sunday, took up strategic positions, freed prisoners and burned the governor’s house before withdrawing.

“We have discovered the dead bodies of three foreigners and the owner of the Hakab Private English School in the town this morning,” said Ayanle Husein Abdi, a local resident. Some locals said one of the slain Somalis had returned home to build a school and educate locals. Islamic courts fighters have been battling Somalia’s UN-backed government and its Ethiopian allies since they were pushed out of Mogadishu in December 2006.