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Somalia:Rebels in Somalia briefly take over key central town

Friday, November 25, 2011

Laaska news  Nov. 25,2011

MOGADISHU, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) — Somali rebel militants Al- Shabaab on Friday briefly seized a strategic town in the central of war-wrecked horn of Africa nation before they were pushed back by pro-government militia controlling the area, an official and residents said.

The rebel fighters from Al-Shabaab launched their attacks on the town of Dhusamareb in central Somalia province of Galgaduud, which is controlled by pro-government militia group of Ahlu SunnahWaljama (ASWJ).

The radical group of Al-Shabaab took over the town following fierce battles with local militia fighters who were forced out of the town, but the ASWJ fighters regrouped and launched a counter- attack on the militants in the strategic town of Dhusamareb on the key road linking a number of other towns in the region.

We managed to push them (Al-Shabaab fighters) back. We are now in hot pursuit of them,” Muse Gaab, military commander of ASWJ told Xinhua by phone from the town of Dhusamareb 550 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu.

It was not immediately clear if there had been any casualties from the latest fighting in Dhusamareb, which has previously changed hands between the two sides. Witnesses said the fighting has been heavy with both sides exchanging artillery and machine guns.

“We could not raise our heads during the fighting in the town. The Al-Shabaab fighters came from different directions and easily took over the town but the Ahlu Sunnah forces came back and drove them out. I don’t know if anyone were hurt,” Maalin Haaruun, a resident told Xinhua.

ASWJ fighters which are allied with the Somali government control a number of towns in central Somalia including the other key town of Guriel, where last week troops from neighboring Ethiopia were reported to have set up bases. Ethiopia denies its troops crossed into Somalia border region.

The Al-Shabaab fighters are currently facing major joint Kenyan and Somali government military offensive.

Laaska News.