Payne Apparent Target of Mortar Fire

Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:44am

Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) was the apparent target of a mortar attack by Somali insurgents during a quick visit to Mogadishu, according to news reports. Payne was reportedly unharmed.“One mortar landed at the airport when Payne’s plane was due to fly and five others after he left and no one was hurt,— a police officer at the airport told Reuters. Payne was in the capital city for a meeting with the president and prime minister. Payne’s visit — rare for a top U.S. official — followed the dramatic rescue of an American ship captain captured by Somali pirates. Navy snipers killed three pirates in that operation, and a Somali pirate chief on Monday threatened revenge by targeting Americans. Payne chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health. His office was not immediately available for comment.