Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Somalia News Bulletin: Rabdure District Fighting Between al-Shabab and Government Forces

Calm returns to Rabdhure after fighting that killed 17 people

Posted: 3/18/2009 3:54:00 PM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

BAIDOA (Sh. M. Network) ---Calm has returned to Rabdhure district in Bakol region in southwestern Somalia after fierce fighting that killed about seventeen people in the town on Wednesday.

Government troops attacked al-Shabab Islamists in the southwestern Islamist stronghold of Rabdhure town, sparking heavy exchanges early Wednesday.

The governor of Bay and Bakol regions of al-Shabab administration in southwestern Somalia, Sheik Hassan Mohamed Ali (Abu Ayman) held a press conference in Baidoa and said that they have killed many government soldiers in today’s battle.

“We killed 16 soldiers including top officials from those who attacked us today as far as we know and we have captured many weapons from them,” said Abu Ayman.

Residents said they saw several bodies after the fighting subsided.

Asked about the casualties of their side he said one of their fighters died in the skirmish.

Al-Shabab controls several towns in southern and central Somalia, which they recently re-took in battles against the Ethiopia-backed Somali troops who ousted their movement in early 2007.

Ethiopian forces pulled out of Somalia in January, ending a two-year of ill-fated intervention.


At Least 13 Killed In Somali Fighting -Witnesses

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AFP)--Fierce fighting between Somali government forces and Islamist rebels near the Ethiopian border Wednesday killed at least 13 people, mostly combatants, witnesses said.

Government troops attacked Shebab insurgents in the southwestern Islamist stronghold of Rabdhure, sparking heavy exchanges.

A Shebab commander, Sheikh Hassan Derow, told AFP the government forces had attacked his group's positions on the outskirts of the town before they were driven back.

"We killed many of them and seized one of their vehicles and burned another," he said. One Shebab fighter was killed, he said.

A government official in a nearby town confirmed the clashes but did not give any casualty figure.

Residents said they saw several bodies after the fighting subsided.

"I saw 11 bodies in one area and two in another. Most of the bodies I saw were of the government forces," said one resident, Mohamed Alin Yusuf.

Local aid workers also confirmed the toll.

"The government forces attacked, but they soon lost and retreated," a local aid worker told AFP, asking not to be named. "I saw one of their armed vehicles destroyed and several dead bodies outside the town."

The Shebab control several towns in southern and central Somalia, which they recently retook in battles against the Ethiopia-backed Somali troops who ousted their movement in early 2007.

Ethiopian forces pulled out of Somalia in January, ending a two-year, ill- fated intervention.

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Islamists claim victory

Posted: 3/16/2009 4:11:00 PM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

MOGADISHU (Sh. M. Network)--al-Shabab Islamists claimed Monday victory over fighting in central Somalia which killed many people on Saturday and Sunday in Wabho and Dac Villages of Elbur district in central Somalia.

The spokesman of al-Shabab, Sheik Mukhtar Robow Ali (Abu Mansur), claimed that they have killed more fighters from what he called “apostates” referring to Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a.

“We defeated the enemy that Ethiopia armed them and those who claimed that they are Ahlu Sunna lied,” said Abu Mansur.

“I thank our brothers Hisbul Islam for their assistance in the fighting and also the people of the area,” Abu Mansur added.

Sheik Abu Mansur also confirmed that some fighters of their side were killed in the fighting.

Reports from central Somalia say that calm has returned to the towns in central Somalia after fierce fighting that has been ongoing in the area for the last three days.

The statement of Abu Mansur comes as spokesman for Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a claimed victory in the fighting.


Hundreds in Mogadishu rally in support of Sudan's president

Posted: 3/16/2009 4:37:00 PM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

MOGADISHU (SH. M. Network) -- Hundreds of people, mostly students, Monday rallied in the Somali capital Mogadishu in support of the Sudanese President Omar Hassan El-Bashir who was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes committed in Darfur.

Speakers at the demonstration against the ICC described the arrest warrant on the Sudanese president as unfair.

The demonstration was organized by the Somali Students in Mogadishu and Sheik Nur Barud Gurhan, the spokesman of the Somali clerics spoke to the demonstrators and strongly condemned the decision of the court.

"This is a plot to further destabilize the brotherly country and we oppose that because the unjust arrest warrant was never issued in the interest of the Sudanese people but to harm them," said Sheik Nur Barud Gurhan.

Fadil Al-jasul Mustafa, the acting Sudanese ambassador in Mogadishu, said the move by the ICC showed the double standards used by the international court in The Hague.

The ICC accused the Sudanese President of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the region of Darfur, a charge vehemently denied by the government of Sudan.

Demonstrators carried banners and placards and chanted slogans condemning the ICC action calling for it to rescind its decision which they said hurts the peace and reconciliation process.


TV director released

Posted: 3/18/2009 1:42:00 PM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

BOSASSO (Sh. M. Network) ---The director of Somali ETN television based in Bosasso, in Puntland, north eastern Somalia has been released on Wednesday.

Abdiwali Sheik was released today after one day of detention in the port town of Bosasso.

“I have been released and I am ok now,” said Abdiwali.

Puntland police detained him yesterday in Bosasso. He confirmed that he was not arrested for reasons relating to his job.

ETN is an independent television and it broadcasts its news and programmers in Somali language.

The Somali journalists often meet arresting from authorities and intimidations and killing from unknown groups.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists to work. Two radio journalists were killed in Somalia this year alone.


Two people killed in central town

Posted: 3/17/2009 7:52:00 PM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

BALADWEYNE(Sh. M. Network)--Two people have been killed and three others have been injured in Beledweyne town about 300 kilometers(180miles) north of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, witnesses told radio Shabelle on Tuesday.

Witnesses said the people died after forces from the Islamic Courts Union clashed in Hawl-wadag neighborhood in Beldweyne in central Somalia.

One fighter from the Islamic Courts Union was confirmed dead and one civilian was caught in the cross fire.

It is not known the reason behind the clashes with in the Islamic Courts Union. The town is under the control of the Islamic Courts Union.

The Islamists that control the town support the new government led by president Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed.

The governor of Bay and Bakol regions of al-Shabab administration in southwestern Somalia, Sheik Hassan Mohamed Ali (Abu Ayman) held a press conference in Baidoa and said that they have killed many government soldiers in today’s battle.

“We killed 16 soldiers including top officials from those who attacked us today as far as we know and we have captured many weapons from them,” said Abu Ayman.

Residents said they saw several bodies after the fighting subsided.

Asked about the casualties of their side he said one of their fighters died in the skirmish.

Al-Shabab controls several towns in southern and central Somalia, which they recently re-took in battles against the Ethiopia-backed Somali troops who ousted their movement in early 2007.

Ethiopian forces pulled out of Somalia in January, ending a two-year of ill-fated intervention.


Blasts injure AMISOM soldiers in Mogadishu

Posted: 3/18/2009 8:05:00 AM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

MOGADISHU (Sh. M. Network)--Two African Union troops have been injured in a blast that targeted them in Mogadishu, witnesses told Shabelle Media on Wednesday.

Witnesses said two explosions targeted African Union peace keepers known as AMISOM and Somali police forces who were inspecting mines on the road to Aden Ade International airport in the capital.

Witnesses told Shabelle Media that the AMISOM soldiers retrieved two injured soldiers from the scene.

After the explosions, the AU troops with the government soldiers fired heavy gun fire but no casualties have been reported yet.

Shabelle Media tried to contact the AMISOM spokesperman in Mogadishu, but could not reach him.

No group has claimed the responsibility of the explosions yet.


UN aid workers freed

Posted: 3/17/2009 8:07:00 AM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

MOGADISHU (Sh. M. Network) -- Four United Nations aid workers kidnapped in southern Somalia on Monday have been released safely, an elder said on Tuesday.

Ugas Moalim Ali Barre, a clan elder who has been mediating for their release said that the four were released hours after they were abducted.

Reports say no ransom has been paid. The spokesman of al-Shabab, Sheik Mukhtar Robow, reached Wajid town and participated for their release.

The four were on their way to the airport when their convoy was stopped by gunmen in Wajid, a food aid center some 340 kilometers south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

Somalia, which has not had a functioning national government since 1991, has been plagued by fighting and humanitarian suffering for decades. Continuing instability, coupled with drought, high food prices and the collapse of the local currency have only worsened the dire humanitarian situation in recent months.

The United Nations estimates that some 3.2 million people, or 40 percent of the population, are in need of assistance.

At the same time, there have been several encouraging developments in recent weeks for the country, including the election of a new president and the creation of an enlarged parliament.


People die of famine in southern towns

Posted: 3/17/2009 3:48:00 PM
Shabelle: SOMALIA

AFGOYE (Sh. M. Network)—More than 10 people died for water shortage and famine and many others are in a very critical condition in villages between Afgoye and Awdhegle in Lower Shabelle region, witnesses said on Tuesday.

Residents say adults and children died in this week and died of famine, water shortage and outbreak of acute of water diarrhoea in Galdhere, Garasbale and many other areas between Afgoi and Awdhegle in lower Shabelle region.

People in Lower Shabelle region have expressed fear about the possibility more other people will die in the region that were dependent on farming their land but they could not farm their farms for water shortage.

Hussein Hassan Gurey, a Somali peace maker in the villages where the people died said that the people were suffering from water shortage, famine and starvation and he requested from all the Somali people and aid agencies to help and give them.

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