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Sunday, February 12, 2012

11 killed in battle in central Somalia

Press TV
At least eleven people have been killed and over 20 others injured in the latest clashes between government-allied Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a militiamen and al-Shabab fighters in central Somalia, Press TV reports.

On Saturday, al-Shabab militants launched a surprise attack on a base manned by Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a militia fighters in Beledweyne, the capital of the province of Hiraan, which is located 332 kilometers (206 miles) north of Mogadishu.

According to eyewitnesses, a fierce firefight then broke out that lasted for hours and claimed the lives of eight civilians and three fighters.

“I saw eleven dead people, including three students. Over 23 others were also injured after clashes erupted. Everyone fled the area in fear of their lives following the bloody violence,” an eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told a Press TV correspondent.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

The weak Western-backed transitional government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for the past five years, and is propped up by a 10,000-strong African Union force from Uganda, Burundi, and Djibouti.


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