18 March 2009

Somalia: Calm Returns to Rabdhure After Fighting That Killed 17 People

Baidoa — Calm has returned to Rabdhure district in Bakol region in southwestern Somalia after fierce fighting that killed about seventeen people in the town on Wednesday.

Government troops attacked al-Shabab Islamists in the southwestern Islamist stronghold of Rabdhure town, sparking heavy exchanges early Wednesday.

The governor of Bay and Bakol regions of al-Shabab administration in southwestern Somalia, Sheik Hassan Mohamed Ali (Abu Ayman) held a press conference in Baidoa and said that they have killed many government soldiers in today's battle.

"We killed 16 soldiers including top officials from those who attacked us today as far as we know and we have captured many weapons from them," said Abu Ayman.

Residents said they saw several bodies after the fighting subsided.

Asked about the casualties of their side he said one of their fighters died in the skirmish.

Al-Shabab controls several towns in southern and central Somalia, which they recently re-took in battles against the Ethiopia-backed Somali troops who ousted their movement in early 2007.

Ethiopian forces pulled out of Somalia in January, ending a two-year of ill-fated intervention.

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