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Last Updated: Dec 15, 2011 - 11:05:44 AM
Somalia
4 killed in central Somalia battle, incl. Al Shabaab commander


DHUSAMAREB, Somalia Feb 11 (Garowe Online) - Clan militias attacked a small town under the control of Islamists in central Somalia Tuesday night, killing the local al Shabaab commander, Radio Garowe reports.

The fighting erupted in the central region of Galgadud, which has been the scene of intense conflict between al Shabaab guerrillas and clan militias fighting under the banner of Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamee'a in recent weeks.

At least four people were killed and seven others wounded during the battle, witnesses said.

"The fighting started with explosions and lasted for hours…but the situation is calm now [Wednesday morning]," said Omar Ismail, a resident of Masagawa town in Galgadud region.

He stated that clan militias overwhelmed the small number of al Shabaab insurgents inside the town, who were eventually forced to scatter except for a few al Shabaab fighters who were surrounded inside the town's only police station and "ordered to surrender."

Another witness, Madino Omar, said al Shabaab's local commander named Abdirahim Gessey was killed during the battle.

Al Shabaab fighters had been controlling the town for the past year, where they organized themselves and moved further north to capture the towns of Dhusomareb and Guri El, also in Galgadud.

But Ahlu Sunnah clan militias, reportedly armed by Ethiopia, retook control of Galgadud's provincial capital Dhusamareb and the trading town of Guri El in fierce battles that killed upwards of 100 people.

Source: Garowe Online

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