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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid