MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Suspected armed Islamic militants on Wednesday ambushed a convoy carrying doctors near the Somali capital, killing six people, three of them Syrian doctors who were in the country giving medical assistance, officials said Wednesday.
Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police commander, said the convoy came under attack in a semi-forested area outside Mogadishu, while on the way to give medical assistance to patients at a hospital.
Hussein blames al-Shabab insurgents for the attack. Somalia's weak government is attempting to rebuild the war-ravaged nation after African Union troops helped the Somali army eject the al-Qaida-linked militants from all the major cities, including the capital Mogadishu.
Dr. Abdi Ibrahim Jiya, a well-known orthopedic surgeon in Somalia, said he trained a Somali doctor killed in the attack. Jiya said others killed were the three Syrian doctors and two Somali aides who were all heading to Fiqi hospital in Elasha Biyaha, a settlement near Mogadishu. A Syrian doctor was also wounded in the attack, he said.
Although daily fighting has stopped since al-Shabab was evicted from the areas it occupied, guerrilla attacks blamed on the militants continue.
Foreign health care workers and locals working for foreign organizations providing assistance to the country's dilapidated health system have been targeted before.