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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid