Somalia: villagers resist Islamists

At least seven were killed and 15 wounded in southern Somalia after Shabaab insurgents attacked a clan militia base in the outskirts of Kismayo. The fighting erupted late April 20 and continued into the following morning, in a town called Bulo Haji, some 90 kilometers southwest of Kismayo, a strategic port city and the capital of Lower Jubba region.

Reports said Shabaab fighters, who control Kismayo in an alliance with local clans, attacked the clan fighters grouped in Bulo Haji in an effort to seize control of the town. Most of the casualties were described as fighters, but some wounded civilians were brought to Kismayo hospital. It was not immediately clear which group now controls Bulo Haji.

Last month, a group of young men fought against the Shabaab in Jamame, a town in Middle Jubba region, after rejecting an order from the insurgents to disarm. (Radio Garowe, April 21)

Meanwhile, Somalia’s President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed reportedly asked the Egyptian government for military assistance when he was in Cairo April 21 for talks with President Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported that the Somali leader asked the Egyptian government financial and military aid to “combat pirates and opposition groups.” (Radio Garowe, April 21)

See our last post on Somalia.

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  1. ICU leader back in Somalia
    The war in Somalia is looking more and more like one between Islamist extremism and Islamist ultra-extremism. From AlJazeera, April 23:

    Somali Islamist leader ends exile
    Somalia’s Islamist opposition leader has returned to the Horn of Africa nation after spending two years in neighbouring Eritrea, an Islamist group has said.

    Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who is on the US list of terrorism suspects for his alleged links to al-Qaeda, arrived in Somalia on Thursday, according to Hizbul Islam, an umbrella group of four organisations, including the one that Aweys heads.

    Aweys, the head of the Islamic Courts Union, which took control of large parts of the country in its battle against the interim government, still wields significant influence over some fighters.

    Omar Abubukar, leader of Hizbul Islam, said: “[Aweys] will be staying with us, and we shall be having discussions on the current political situation in Somalia.”