13 May 2014

Somalia: Gedo Region Sees Second Day of Deadly Clashes

Beledhawo — Heavy clashes for the second day broke out in Gedo regional district of Beled Hawo of southwestern Somalia, leaving six persons including civilians and fighters dead according to witnesses, Garowe Online reports.

The deadly battle on Tuesday morning follows Monday fighting and erupted in the outskirts of Beled Hawo after local forces loyal to former Doolow Mayor and Jubaland's Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Security Abdirashid Hassan Abdinur (Janan) commenced a clean-up operation near Beled Hawo.

The Governor of Gedo region Mohamed Abdi Kilil and a spokesman for the paramilitary group of Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamea Mohamed Hussein Al Qaadi said on Mogadishu-based radio station that Jubaland forces launched an attack on Beled Hawo.

"This fighting was planned from Doolow and it has been aimed at the takeover of Beled Hawo Town," claimed Kilil.

"I heard that many people, mainly civilians were affected [during the deadly clashes], also built up areas in Beled Hawo suffered blaze," Alhu Sunnah spokesman noted.

Independent sources in Gedo tell GO that Ethiopian-AMISOM troops tightened security around their military bases, firing mortars into the air in response to the nearby clashes.

Meanwhile in Gedo region town of Buur Dhuubo, Somali government forces along with Ethiopian peacekeepers yesterday clashed with Al Shabaab militants who targeted rocket propelled grenades with army bases.

On May 5, speaking on VOA Somali Service Abdirashid Janan declared that they are battling Al Qaeda-lined Al Shabaab fighters and anti-Jubaland elements.

"In step towards active decentralization in Somalia, I and a group of politicians in Gedo region lobbied for the formation of Jubaland forces," said Janan. "Jubaland administration is legitimate and enjoys international recognition, I arrived in Garbaharay to speed up Jubaland reconciliation and I am not satisfied with the ongoing deadly battles".

Jubaland, headquartered in the southern port city of Kismayo is composed of Gedo, Middle Jubba and Lower Jubba regions.

The fledgling administration struck a deal with Mogadishu-based Federal Government following intense bilateral talks in Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in August 2013 under the auspices of IGAD.

Jubaland officials previously unveiled, they are committed to brushing anti peace elements including the terror group of Al Shabaab off the areas in the map.

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