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Bombs, shelling kill dozens in Somalia

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roadside bombs kill at least nine civilians and injure 25 on minibuses, officials say
  • Shelling at a Mogadishu market leaves at least 17 dead, an ambulance director says
  • Somalia's transitional president issues an urgent call for international help

(CNN) -- At least nine civilians were killed and 25 were injured when roadside bombs hit minibuses in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, according to eyewitnesses and officials.

The roadside bombs exploded near the former compound of Jale Siad military academy, which houses Burundian peacekeepers south of Mogadishu.

The minibuses were carrying civilians, according to Nur Hassan, a security commander of the Somali government.

Omar Hilowle, a minibus driver who witnessed the blast, said the scene was horrifying.

"The roadside bomb was massive and the power of it blew the buses off the road," he said.

Separately, at least 17 people were reported killed and dozens were wounded as shelling hit the city's Bakara market.

Ali Musa, director of a local ambulance service, who spoke to CNN from Mogadishu, said his service had picked up 17 bodies and 61 injured people since Monday night.

Bakara is a major stronghold of Al-Shabaab, the militant movement linked to al Qaeda that controls much of southern Somalia and portions of Mogadishu.

Somalian President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed issued an urgent appeal for international support, as Al-Shabaab militants intensified their attacks on the government and the African forces propping it up.

"It is not viable to expect Somalia alone to contain the evil of al Qaeda-Al Shabaab alliance, as Somalia is emerging from 20 years of destruction and chaotic political environment," Sheikh Sharif said in a statement issued Monday. He heads Somalia's transitional government.

The appeal from the president coincided with the death of four Ugandan soldiers Monday in a deadly mortar attack on the presidential palace, blamed on Al-Shabaab.

Journalist Mohamed Amiin Adow contributed to this report.