News / Africa

Fighting Factions Each Claim Victory in Somali Fighting

Residents assist a victim who was injured during shelling in Mogadishu's restive Bakara market (File Photo)
Residents assist a victim who was injured during shelling in Mogadishu's restive Bakara market (File Photo)

A pro-government militia and Islamist insurgents in Somalia both are claiming victory after nearly two days of heavy fighting in the capital, Mogadishu. The violence erupted after several bombings of mosques in areas of the country under the control of al-Qaida-linked militants.

Witnesses say the fighting began on Monday when al-Shabab fighters attacked pro-government Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a positions in the city. Al-Shabab reportedly launched the strike because it had received information that Ahlu-Sunna was preparing a raid on Bakara market, a busy open-air commercial area under the control of al-Shabab.

Bakara market is in a strategic area of Mogadishu and has been the base for Islamist insurgents since 2007. Al-Shabab frequently uses the market to fire mortars at African Union peacekeepers guarding the nearby presidential palace.

Al-Shabab's regional governor, Ali Mohamed Hussein, told reporters his group killed several Ahlu-Sunna fighters and won the battle. But the spokesman for the pro-government faction of Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a, Sheik Adirahman al-Qadi, says his forces are still dug in near Bakara market.

Al-Qadi says Ahlu-Sunna dealt al-Shabab a major blow by killing an Egyptian, who served as a senior al-Shabab military commander. Al-Qadi says many other al-Shabab fighters died in the fighting.

None of the claims on either side could be independently verified. But hospital workers say at least three civilians were killed and 15 others were wounded in the clash.

Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a is a diverse group made up of Sufi Muslims and various factional leaders who are fighting to retake Mogadishu and large areas of southern Somalia from the ultra-conservative, al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab. A faction of Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jama'a recently signed a deal to back the U.N.-supported, but weak, Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.

A southern-based faction of another fundamentalist group called Hizbul Islam is also fighting al-Shabab. The two sides fell out last year over an administrative dispute in the southern port city of Kismayo.

Al-Shabab, which is considered a terrorist organization by several countries, has vowed to eliminate any group that challenges its power. Several-hundred foreign fighters, many trained in al-Qaida-run camps in Afghanistan, are believed to be among its ranks.

On Saturday, two powerful bombs exploded at a mosque in Bakara market, reportedly targeting a senior al-Shabab leader. Several days earlier, a landmine exploded in another mosque in an al-Shabab-controlled area of the capital. Two days ago, a third attack on a mosque took place in the al-Shabab-administered city of Kismayo.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. But Somalis privately worry that with so many groups entering the battlefield, the two-decade conflict in Somalia might escalate.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs