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Somalia: Clashes spread in Mudug and Hiran regions
Sun. December 24, 2006 06:11 am. -


Mohamed Abdi Farah

(SomaliNet) Bandiredly, Mudug region - Heavy clashes have erupted in Bandiredley town just several kilometers to northern Somalia city Galkaayo on Sunday between Islamic Courts Union fighters and pro-government militia backed by Ethiopian troops exchanging heavy artillery fires and anti aircraft machineguns mounted with the pick-up trucks.

Local residents confirmed SomaliNet that the fighting has started early this morning and could be hear the sounds of heavy weapons.

Military officials in Puntland, the semi-autonomous region in northeast Somalia, accused the Islamic Courts of starting the war launching attack on the positions of their troops at the frontline around Bandiredley.

The army commander of Puntland, Abdulahi Mire Areys, told the local media that ICU militia began the fighting and fired mortar shells to Puntland troops.

Mohamud Mohamed Jimale known as �Aga-Weyne� means �big feet�, the Islamic Courts Union spokesman for middle regions in Somalia said that the Ethiopian troops had attacked Bandiredley and Saddeh-Higlo environs of Mudug province.

He confirmed that the fighting was very heavy and intensifying hour by hour with both sides using all sorts of weapons.

Aga-Weyne pointed out that large number of Ethiopian troops was pouring to Mudug region confiscating entirely the airport of Galkaayo, where they are using as base for their planes.

Beledwein, Hiran region

Elsewhere, Ethiopian war planes are reportedly shelling Jawil and Kala-Bayrka areas just 30km to Beledweine city, the provincial capital of Hiran region in northwest Somalia.

The Ethiopian air strike came after Islamic fighters clashed with the Ethiopian troops that had already massed the area.

Heavy gun battle is continuing on the ground between ICU fighters with the help of residents and Ethiopian troops that are using war planes and tanks.

Abu-Salman, the Islamist army commander for Hiran region, confirmed that the fighting erupted between his fighters and Ethiopian troops those he accused of launching the attack.

The sounds of the artillery fires and the bombardments could be heard inside Beledweine, where people took the streets vowing to hold up the guns for defending the land against what they called �The Ethiopian invaders�.

There is no immediate casualty from the latest clashes close to Beledwein.

It is the first time Ethiopian forces use war planes since the clashes with the Islamists began five days ago in some parts of Bay region in southwest Somalia.

Villagers began to flee as helicopters dropping bombs on the ground.

Daynunay, Bay region

Fierce gun battle has again erupted Sunday in Daynunay area near to Baidoa city, the seat the transitional federal government in southwest Somalia as the telecommunication lines in Baidoa was cut off.

Reports say that the interim government officials in Biadoa ordered all the telecommunication companies to switch off their lines for the war grounds.

Daynunay is 25km to Baidoa city where the Ethiopian backed government troops are fighting with Islamic Courts forces.

Residents in Baidoa said they were awakened by the sounds of the artillery fires from Daynunay direction where the fighting has restarted around 5:00 am before dawn.

Salad Ali Jele, the deputy minister of defense in the transitional federal government, told the media that their forces are making progress in the fighting with the Islamic Courts saying the government troops were in three kilometers to capture Bur-Hakaba town which is now in control of Islamic Courts.

But there is independent sources confirming the government�s claim over its victory.

In Idale town, the fighting seems to be dying down thought it could be heard sporadic gun fire, journalists near the area of the battle zone reporting.

In Somalia, the battle fronts are increasing with extra Ethiopian troops with tanks and helicopters moved inside Somalia fighting with the Islamists despite the ICU vowed to die for the defense of their country.

News Category: Somalia
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