Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rebels, Government Troops Clash in Somalia

Rebels, govt troops clash

MOGADISHU. Somalia’s Shebab-led rebels rallied support after yesterday’s prayers and vowed all-out war as the conflict-riven country braced for a huge nationwide government offensive to crush insurgents.

As residents poured out of the capital in recent days, Islamist fighters poured in to face off with newly-trained government forces backed by African Union troops ahead of the battle. A skirmish that broke out early yesterday when fighters from the Al Qaeda-inspired Shebab movement opened fire on government troops, drawing heavy retaliatory shelling, left five civilians dead and 20 others wounded. At the Nasreddin mosque in southern Mogadishu, Sheikh Muktar Robow Abu Mansur, a top military leader with the Shebab, said his movement was ready to face an onslaught by the Western-backed government.

"You are aware of the recent indiscriminate shelling of the enemy against our people. This war is a religious obligation for all of us to go to and fight them," Robow told the crowd after prayers. — AFP.

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