Pro-government fighters seize second Somali town

Pro-government fighters in southern Somalia have seized a second town from fighters, witnesses said on Wednesday.

Pro-government fighters seize second Somali town

Pro-government fighters in southern Somalia have seized a second town from fighters, witnesses said on Wednesday.

Residents in Gedo region, which borders Kenya and Ethiopia, said heavily armed fighters including the Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca group swept into Luuq town after seizing Bulahawa on Monday.

Local man Ahmed Mohamed said Luuq had been under the control of Hizbul Islam fighters, who fled as their foes approached.

"They have regrouped outside the town and fighting might start," he said, adding that the pro-government fighters was now occupying the strategic town's police station.

Luuq businessman Yusuf Hure said both sides appeared to be receiving reinforcements, and that shops and markets remained closed for fear of clashes. Many residents had fled the town.

On Monday, Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca forces chased another insurgent group, al Shabaab, out of Gedo's Bulahawa town without firing a shot.

The pro-government fighters says it wants to drive the fighters from the south central town of Baidoa and strategic southern port of Kismayu.

A spokesman for the fighters that seized Luuq said" Ethiopian soldiers had accompanied them."

"We are going to recapture Kismayu and Bay (region). There are Ethiopian troops with us," said Isaq Huru Ali.

Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia in 2006 until the withdrawal of the Ethiopians in January.

Ethiopian officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The government in Addis Ababa routinely denies this, but says that it is giving technical assistance to Somali government.



Reuters

Last Mod: 19 Ağustos 2009, 17:05
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