26 July 2009

Somalia: Govt Forces Capture Town From Militia

Mogadishu — The forces of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia have earlier today overwhelmed opposition militias in the town of Beledweyne, the capital of Hiran region, 335 km north of Mogadishu.

The TFG army struck a post-dawn attack on the western portion of the town that was a stronghold of the Islamist fighters loyal to Al-Shabaab and Hizbu Islam.

Mohamed Dhaqane Elmi, a legislator in the Transitional Federal Parliament who hails from the region, told the local media that the government is now in full control of the strategic town. Beledweyne is the main commercial centre of the central regions of Somalia and is only 42 km away from the border with Ethiopia.

"The town is no longer divided into government portion and opposition side," said MP Elmi. "The days of evil militias coexisting with noble government administration have gone," he added.

Meanwhile, General Mukhtar Hussein Afrah, the commander of the TFG forces in Hiran region, emphasised that his army's victory was just the initial in a string of planned operations against the Islamists. He reiterated that the TFG's force is going to pursue what he called 'the enemy of the nation.'

"We entered the town from different fronts and met no resistance form the anti-peace elements (in reference to the Islamist groups opposing the TFG)," said General Afrah. "We are going to follow them, not only in the other districts of Hiran region but also in all the other places the evil militias (Islamist fighters) are situated," he added.

On 18th of June this year, a suicide bomber struck a hotel in Beledweyne and killed the late Minister for National Security, Omar Hashi Aden and other government officials.

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