At least 32 civilians are dead in a crowded market in the Somali capital Mogadishu after the area came under sudden artillery fire, probably from rebel forces. Despite the ever present lawlessness and civil war in the country, this is believed to be the worst attack since a coalition of opposition parties known as the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) agreed to a truce and a peace process with the Somali transitional government in July.
The leader of the largest faction still refusing to participate in talks - Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys [PICTURED], head of the Somali Islamic Front - is being blamed for the bloody attack. A spokesman for his faction, however, blamed the Ethiopian-backed transitional government for killing its own civilians.
The attack comes less than a month after a major breakthrough in aid delivery to impoverished Somalia - when Canada agreed to send a warship to escort World Food Programme (WFP) supply ships through dangerous waters to Somali ports.
[See this earlier Tuque Souq posting on Canada's involvement in Somalia.]
More than 1 million people in Somalia are internally displaced refugees, according to Oxfam Canada. At least half a million rely on WFP food aid every day.