18 February 2010

Somalia: Hizbul Islam Attack Al Shabaab Fighters, Seize Dobley

Hundreds of Somalia's Hizbul Islam fighters have taken over the control Somali border town of Dhobley near the Kenyan border, witnesses said.

According to witness account from the town, Al-Shabaab fighters were forced to flee after being overpowered by fighters loyal to Hizbul Islam's high ranking official Sheikh Ahmed Madobe.

"Al-Shabaab fighters abandoned the town today mid-morning after fierce clashes. Several Hizbul Islam fighters have taken positions at the centre of the town, " said a resident who requested anonymity.

Various sources said at least 15 people were killed and 25 others wounded, mostly fighters. Hizbul Islam commanders said they "seized 3 armed trucks" from Al Shabaab fighters, who withdrew towards Kismayo.

Both Hizbul Islam and Al-Shabaab officials are yet to comment about the capture of the town, however, residents say signs of further clashes are imminent as both sides are still engaging in the outskirts.

The two groups, which were formally united in the fight against UN-backed government in Mogadishu, have broke ranks and engaged in bloody war over the control of southern regions in recent past.

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