Monday, June 09, 2003

SOMALIA: Fresh fighting in Middle Shabelle
NAIROBI, 9 JUNE 2003 (IRIN) - Fighting has again broken out around the village of Raghe-Eil, some 95 km northeast of the capital, Mogadishu, in the Middle Shabelle region of south-central Somalia, local sources said.

The fighting was between the two Abgal subclans of Muhammad Muse and Warsangeli, sources told IRIN. It reportedly started after forces loyal to the self-styled "governor" of Middle Shabelle, Muhammad Umar Habeeb, alias Muhammad Dhere, a Warsangeli, captured the village of Raghe-Eil, a Muhammad Muse stronghold, on 29 May.

At least six people were killed in the latest battle, which was fought in the village of Meraley over the weekend, a local journalist told IRIN. Ahmadey Shaykh Hasan, a leader of the Muhammad Muse, told IRIN that a convoy he was travelling in was attacked by militia of Muhammad Dhere in Meraley, 15 km east of Raghe-Eil.

"I was ambushed by Muhammad Dhere and we defended ourselves," Ahmadey said. According to him, the Muhammad Dhere militia lost two battle-wagons.

However, a source close to Dhere denied that their group initiated this round of fighting. "Our positions were attacked by forces of Muse Sudi [Yalahow - a Mogadishu-based faction leader]," the source said. MORE

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