Thursday, February 12, 2015
MOGADISHU (HOL) --- Fighters loyal to the moderate Islamist group in central Somalia repelled Somali troops counter-attack on a town in central Somalia one day after the militias pushed troops out of the town, residents said.
Residents in the town said nine combatants died on the Thursday’s fighting which saw the armed militias again pushing troops out of Guri-el town in central Somalia.
Terrified residents fled homes during hours of battle on the town’s streets as two sides exchanged artillery shells in residential areas.
Security sources in the region said that the government troops who seized parts of the town on early hours of Thursdaywere driven back to the outskirts, with the Sufi militias in a full control of the town.
The fighting which started on Wednesday started after political disputes between the government and the militia appeared to be spiraling into a larger war that may open a second war front against the government which is struggling to contain a deadly insurgency by the Al-Qaeda-linked group, Al-Shabab.
Ahlu-Sunna fighters have recaptured both Guri-el and its neighboring Dhusomarebtowns from Al-Shabab four years ago after deadly battles with the feared militant group which is fighting the Somali government and the African Union forces protecting the weak government.
The group has since defended both towns against repeated counter attacks by Al-Shabab to recapture the town.