Monday, June 02, 2003

SOMALIA: Over 20 killed in another ceasefire violation
NAIROBI, 2 JUNE 2003 (IRIN) - Over 20 people were killed in the course of an outbreak of heavy fighting in the Middle Shabelle Region, south-central Somalia, according to sources in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The fighting in the village of Raghe-Eil, 95 km northeast of Mogadishu, pits militias loyal to faction leader Muhammad Dhere against those of the Abgal sub-clan Muhammad Muse. The clashes, which began on Thursday, were still continuing sporadically on Monday, a local journalist told IRIN.

The fighting coincides with a visit to the country of an international fact-finding mission. The team, which includes representatives of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the EU, and the Arab League is in the country to observe the effectiveness of the ceasefire agreement signed by the Somali parties participating in the peace conference being held in Kenya.

So far, at least 23 people have been killed and scores wounded "in and around Raghe-Eil", Ahmadey Shaykh Hasan of the Muhammad Muse sub-clan told IRIN on Monday. Ahmadey said that on Thursday, 18 people, 17 of them civilians and one militiaman from the village, were killed in Raghe-Eil. On Sunday, Muhammad Dhere forces attacked the village of Qordhere, 30 km west of Raghe-Eil, and killed five more people, he said. "Two of those killed were Koranic school children," he added. MORE

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