10 February 2009

Somalia: Government Soldiers And Islamists Fight in South-Western Town

Baidoa — At least three people were killed when Islamist insurgents of al-shabaab and government soldiers fought near Hudur district in Bakool region south-western Somalia, witnesses said on Tuesday.

The fighting started after Al-Shabaab Islamist group from Baidoa attacked bases of government soldiers near Hudur.

Residents say the dead were all combatants from the warring sides who were using heavy gunfire. The sound of artillery gunfire could be heard around the town.

People in the area have started to flee from villages near Hudur where the opposing factions are confronting. Clan elders have failed to mediate between the government soldiers and the Islamist insurgents of al-Shabaab.

Al-shabaab has seized Baidoa, the former seat of the transitional parliament, after the Ethiopian forces withdrew from the town last month.

Residents in Wajid district say, communications of Hudur town have been cut and it is difficult to get detailed stories from the fighting areas.

Government ministers who were ousted from Baidoa were amassing troops in Hudur town and said they were planning a big offensive against al-Shabaab to recapture Baidoa.

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