Mortars fired at Somali airport, US official safe

April 13, 2009 8:23:45 AM PDT
An airport staff member says mortars have been fired toward the airport as a plane carrying U.S. congressman Donald Payne took off from the Somali capital. Abdullahi says the plane carrying Payne, a Democrat from New Jersey, took off safely Monday. He says none of the six mortars fired landed in the airport. Abdullahi declined to give his full name to The AP.

Payne met with Somalia's president and prime minister during his one-day visit to Mogadishu Monday. His discussions included piracy, security and how Somalia and the United States can cooperate with each other. Payne is the chairman of the subcommittee on Africa and global health in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Somalia has not had an effective government for 18 years.

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