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15 killed as Sufi militia recapture town from pro-govt forces

Hiiraan Online
Wednesday March 2, 2016

MOGADISHU (HOL) – Fighters from a moderate Sufi militia recaptured a contested strategic town in central Somalia from pro-government regional forces in fierce clashes that killed at least 15 people, officials said Wednesday.

The clashes erupted in Dhusomareb town, the regional capital of Galgadud region few days after talks between an armed Sufi militia Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca and the government-backed regional state of Galmudug ended in failure, with the moderate Islamist group rejected a new power sharing offer by Galmudug.

Mursal Mohamed, a spokesman for the Sufi militia told reporters that their troops have taken full control of the town, and captured the commander of the rival force Liban Madahweyne before ousting Galmudug forces have withdrawn into the outskirts.

However, an uneasy calm has returned to the town’s deserted streets, as Sufi militia tightened their grip over the town’s control.

Galmudug authorities confirmed that their troops were involved in the clashes which they said aimed to push Sufi fighters out of town, however, they are yet to comment on the loss of the town’s brief control.

Hundreds of residents have fled from their homes, as witnesses reported chaotic scenes and bodies strewn along deserted streets in the town.

Somali government hasn’t yet commented on the ongoing fighting which analysts say further challenge the government’s efforts to extend its rule and open a second frontline against the government which is struggling to contain a deadly insurgency by the Al-Qaeda-linked group, Al-Shabab.

Ahlu-Sunna militia have seized both Dhusomareb and the nearby Guriel towns 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 militia has since defended both towns against repeated counter attack by Al-Shabab to recapture the two neighboring towns



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