Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hizbul Islam 'Did Not Disarm' Hiran Governor in Somalia

Somalia: Hizbul Islam 'Did Not Disarm' Hiran Governor

14 October 2009

Beletwein, Somalia — The Islamist governor of a Hiran region in central Somalia has rejected rumors that he was disarmed after joining the Hizbul Islam rebel faction, Radio Garowe reports.

Sheikh Abdirahman Ibrahim Ma'ow, who quit the Somali interim government to join Hizbul Islam rebels in late August, told local media during a Tuesday night interview that he was not disarmed.

The widespread reports said that fighters loyal to Sheikh Ma'ow were mixed in with other Hizbul Islam fighters in Beletwein, the provincial capital of Hiran.

But Sheikh Ma'ow said that he has an appointment to meet with Hizbul Islam commanders in order to join together all the forces under a single command.

Currently, Beletwein is under the control of Hizbul Islam rebels but the rebels do not have a strong chain of command structure, according to local sources.

Beletwein has endured the exchange of hands between Somali government forces and Islamist rebels several times since the beginning of 2009. The town, which is located near the Ethiopian border, is now peaceful amid reports of a possible Ethiopian military incursion.

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