Sunday, March 4, 2012

Heavy clashes claim 25 lives in south Somalia-PressTV -

Heavy clashes claim 25 lives in south Somalia
Members of the al-Shabab militant group hold their weapons in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. (File photo)
Thu Mar 1, 2012 4:34PM GMT
At least twenty-five people have been killed and scores of others injured in the latest clashes between government-allied Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a militiamen backed by Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers and al-Shabab fighters in south Somalia, Press TV reports.

The victims lost their lives in bitter clashes that erupted late on Wednesday after al-Shabab militants attacked a number of bases manned by Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a militia fighters and government forces in Garbaharey town, the capital of Gedo region and situated 528 kilometers (328 miles) southwest of the country’s capital Mogadishu.

The bloody skirmishes continued for the entire Wednesday night until the crack of dawn on Thursday.

Somali military officials said that government forces have repelled al-Shabab attacks, killing 22 militants.

“Al-Shabab attacked our bases last night and today. However, we defeated them and we are in full control of the town. We killed 22 al-Shabab militants and lost three of our soldiers,” Mohamed Abdi Kalil, a Somali military commander in Gedo, told Press TV.

However al-Shabab commander in Gedo region dismissed Abdi Kalil’s remarks, saying his fighters are still fighting in Garbaharey.

“We have killed dozens of TFG soldiers and a number of their chief officers. Our fighters are still fighting against their enemies,” Sheikh Abbas Abdullahi said.

Meanwhile, witnessed said that Mohamud Siyad Aden, a Somali lawmaker, has sustained injuries after he was caught in the crossfire between government forces and al-Shabab militants in Garbaharey.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

The weak Western-backed transitional government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for the past five years and is propped up by a 12,000-strong African Union force consisting of troops from Uganda, Burundi, and Djibouti.

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