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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Further 50 killed, over 100 others injured
in inter-clan clashes in northern Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least 50 people have been killed and about 100 others injured in fierce fighting in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland in the past two days, local officials said on Wednesday.

Abdirashid Hussein Arab, governor of Sool region, said the inter-clan fighting started on Monday over land disputes in Dhumay in southern Sool.

“The renewed fighting in Dhumay started after elders from the two rival clans signed a peace deal following talks that took a month,” Arab told journalists.

Dhumay, an area controlled by Somaliland, has also being claimed by neighboring Puntland for more than two years.

The two regional Somali states have clashed previously since 2002 over control of disputed regions in northern Somalia.

Local residents said there is a lot of tension in the area, adding that there could be more retaliatory clashes in the nearby villages.

The Somali government and the parliament on Wednesday called for an immediate end to the fighting that has resulted in the loss of innocent lives, urging both sides to pursue dialogue to resolve their disputes.

Local leaders in the region have also called on both sides immediately stop fighting, amid efforts by elders of the Sool region to mediate.

Arab said the regional state has stepped up efforts to contain the fighting by redeploying troops to help calm the situation.

Somaliland declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991, though no country formally recognizes it as such. Puntland is a semi-autonomous federal state of Somalia.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Somali army kills four al-Shabab fighters in southwest region

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali National Army (SNA) on Wednesday killed four al-Shabab militants including a senior commander and recovered weapons during a military operation in Bakool region, southwest Somalia, officials said.

Ugaas Hassan Abdi, Information Minister for the Southwest State in Somalia, told Xinhua that the senior commander, Moalim Derow was killed alongside his three bodyguards.

“SNA and Southwest State forces killed a senior al-Shabab commander and three of his bodyguards at Lafoole location in Bakool region and recovered four AK47 rifles from the terrorists, no casualties on our side so far,” Abdi said.

He added the military operations will continue in several areas in the Southwest State and aim at liberating the regional territory from al-Shabab militants.

Al-Shabab militants did not comment on the latest military progress made by the army and instead said its fighters carried out attacks on two army bases in Qansax-dhere and Afgoye towns in Bay and Lower Shabelle regions respectively in the same Southwest State overnight.

Southwest State is preparing to hold presidential election on Nov. 17, despite security challenges and frequent attacks from al-Shabab militant group.

The group killed 22 people and injured 36 others in Baidoa town, the administrative capital of Southwest in Somalia on Oct. 13 after two suicide bombers wearing vests exploded explosives in the center of the town.

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Somali and African Union mission forces capture
strategic locations in central Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali and African Union mission forces on Tuesday captured several areas including Fidow location about 50 KM north of Jowhar town in central Somalia while opening the main road linking Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions, officials said.

Abdiweli Muhamed Abdi, Information Minister for Hirshabelle State in Somalia, told Xinhua by phone that the joint forces successfully liberated key areas under control of al-Shabab militants.

He said that the joint forces from Jalalaksi town in Hiiraan region reached Burane location in Middle Shabelle, saying the joint forces did not meet any resistance from al-Shabab fighters so far.

The militant group did not comment on the latest military progress in the region.

The terrorist group has continued to restrict movement of people and control of supply routes to most of the recovered areas, according to local authorities and humanitarian partners.  

This, the relief agencies say, has negatively impacted the availability of basic commodities in local markets in and has resulted in an increase in prices of food items and other consumables.

Meanwhile, Richard Omwenga, AMISOM Force Spokesperson, told Xinhua by phone the on-going operation from Beledweyne to Jalalaksi aimed at opening main supply routes are crucial for delivery of humanitarian aid.

“We want Somali people to enjoy freedom of movement, economic activities to grow and as AMISOM and Somali National are jointly committed to do that. On-going operation is going well and it is greater plan for peace and stability in Somalia,” Omwenga said.

He said that AU forces detonated 27 improvised explosive devices during the operation in the last few days between Beledweyne and Jalalaksi town in Hiiraan region.

Dahir Aden Elmi, the Somali government’s Chief of Defense Staff said the allied forces would open all roads in Somali regions within a year, noting that the militant group has vacated many towns in the south and central Somalia.

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African Union backed conference seeks to foster peace and unity in Somalia  

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is holding a meeting on Thursday aimed at enhancing peace and unity through community engagement to help curb sporadic flare-ups sparked by inter-clan conflicts in the Horn of Africa nation.

The three-day meeting is focusing on conflict resolution for leaders in the grassroots, in the Lower Shabelle region, one of the areas adversely impacted by such conflicts, said the AU mission in a statement issued on Wednesday evening.

Simon Mulongo, Deputy Special Representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia who opened the meeting urged participants to find amicably ways to resolve their differences.

“We are passing over responsibilities that we have been handling to the people of Somalia. We expect you to use the skills and knowledge acquired here, to promote peace,” Mulongo said in Mogadishu.

The meeting brought together district administrators, religious leaders, traditional elders and representatives of women and youth groups from Marka (el Jaale, Shalambot), Aw Dhegely/KM50 and Afgoye districts.

Hajji Ssebirumbi Kisinziggo, AMISOM’s senior political affairs officer, said the forum was organized to help Somali leaders in lower Shabbel region to end clan differences through dialogue.

“We are expanding in terms of building capacity and we shall also emphasize dialogue and reconciliation, as we work towards the transitioning of responsibilities to the Somali security forces,” Kisinziggo said.

He announced that the initiative would be expanded to other parts of Somalia, to help promote peace and reconciliation.

Mohamed Ibrahim Barre, Governor Of Lower Shabelle, said the al-Shabab militants have always thrived on divisions and cautioned the leaders against falling prey to the militants’ machinations.

“If we are divided on the basis of clans, then they (AMISOM) cannot pacify areas or make advances in the fight against al-Shabab,” he said according to the AU mission.

Barre stressed the importance of unity and peaceful co-existence between clans, noting that it was only through peace and unity that the region could develop and defeat al-Shabab and other armed groups who have destabilized communities for many years.

           

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