16 May 2009

Somalia: Islamic Courts Governor of Hiran 'Survives Blast'

A governor in Somalia's central region of Hiran survived an explosion blast on Saturday blamed on suspected insurgents, Radio Garowe reports.

Sheikh Abdirahman Ibrahim Ma'ow, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) governor of Hiran region, was the target of two roadside explosions in Beletwein, the provincial capital.

ICU fighters fired bullets immediately after the explosion and arrested two suspects at the scene, witnesses said.

Tensions were high in Beletwein as ICU fighters roamed city streets and security was tightened in and out of the town.

No group has claimed responsibility for the roadside bomb, but Al Shabaab hardliners have been fighting against pro-government ICU fighters in parts of Hiran region since last week.

Meanwhile, fighting continued in Mahas town in Hiran between Al Shabaab and pro-government ICU fighters, sources reported.

There were no casualty figures available but the fighting is part of efforts by Al Shabaab to establish a stronghold in Hiran region.

Separately, at least one person was killed and three others wounded after ICU fighters were attacked with hand grenades overnight Friday.

No group has claimed responsibility for that attack.

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