JULY 1 2007 17:19h
Explosions and gunfire rocked Mogadishu hours after President Abdullahi Yusuf promised to stem a bloody insurgency against his government.
Speaking at a function in his bullet-scarred hilltop presidential palace to commemorate 47 years of independence from Italy, Yusuf vowed to lead Somalia to prosperity.
"It's sad after 47 years of independence that killings are going on," he told several hundred supporters gathered for the ceremony late on Saturday ahead of Independence Day.
"This government will not be cowed. It will face head on anyone who stands in its way to bringing back stability."
But soon after Yusuf's address was broadcast live across Somalia, overnight insurgents hurled grenades at police in central Mogadishu's sprawling Bakara market and the northwestern Kasabalbalare neighbourhood.
And in yet another headache for his young administration, a bomb targeting Somali troops went off near the city's Kilometer Four junction on Sunday in the latest guerrilla-style attack on the government and its security apparatus.
Officials blame Islamists militants for the violence.
"It was a remote-controlled bomb targeting a vehicle full of government troops. It went off when the vehicle was a few steps from where the bomb was hid. I heard a loud explosion. No one was hurt," Farhan Ali, who lives nearby, told Reuters.
There were no casualties in the overnight attacks either.
BOY SHOT DEAD
In yet more violence on Sunday, a Somali soldier shot dead a 10-year-old boy in the Gupta area of north Mogadishu after one group of troops tried to stop another apparently extorting cash from the public.
"A quarrel broke out between the two armed groups and suddenly a single gunshot was heard and the boy fell down dead. It hit him in the head," witness Ahmed Ali said in a low, hoarse voice of shock. "The troops dispersed as if nothing happened leaving the bloodied boy lying lifeless."
Civilians have borne the brunt of the bloody insurgency that has claimed more bystanders than combatants this year since Islamists were ousted from Mogadishu in December.
Somalia has not known peace since a dictator was overthrown in 1991 by clan militias.
Wearing a grey suit and looking relaxed, Yusuf also used his speech to call on the insurgents to stop the killings.
He said his government -- formed in 2004 in the relative safety of neighbouring Kenya -- would not cling on to power when its mandate expires in 2009.
"This is an interim government. Its programme is to ensure Somalia attains sovereignty, brings back peace, comes up with a constitution and prepares the country for elections," he said on a dais surrounded by guards with AK-47 rifles.
"We will hand over power to whoever is chosen by the Somali people."