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Peacekeepers killed by mortar shell in Somalia

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • African Union loses four peacekeepers in latest violence in Somalia
  • AU spokesman denies militants are close to taking over a main road

(CNN) -- Four Ugandans who were part of the African Union peacekeeping force were killed and eight were wounded Monday by a single mortar bomb that landed near Somalia's presidential palace, according to Maj. Barigye Ba-Hoku, spokesman of the African Union mission in Somalia.

"Mogadishu is a city of skirmishes, so coincidently and unfortunately today one mortar bomb landed near where our soldiers were," Ba-Hoku told CNN from Mogadishu.

He dismissed claims by the Somali militant group of Al-Shabaab that its fighters are closing in on Maka Al-Mukarama road, a major and very strategic road that links the presidential palace to Mogadishu's Airport.

"Wishful thinking is faster than the reality," Ba-Hoku said. "Al-Shabaab always uses a fake propaganda, and those claims are mere lies."

He said Al-Shabaab forcefully recruits young boys from other regions in Somalia under their control. He said the group has lost large numbers of its fighters in the ongoing fighting in Mogadishu.

Journalist Mohamed Amiin Adow contributed to this report.