Somali fighters retake two towns

Deadly clashes erupt in southern Somalia between fighters and government troops.

    Somalia has been under a state of emergency since Wednesday [AFP]

    One resident, Daud Haji Ibar, said: "There was no big fighting, but the government soldiers have left the western part of Balad Weyne and the al-Shabab men are in control."

    Witnesses said they saw Ethiopian troops entering Somalia, identifying them by their uniforms and vehicle licence plates. However, Ali Mohamed Gedi, a spokesman for the regional government of Balad Wayne, denied the claims.

    Control of Balad Weyne gives a military advantage because of its proximity to Ethiopia, which has sent troops over the border in the past in support of government troops.

    Balad Weyne also serves as a link between southern Somalia and the agriculturally rich central region.

    The latest clashes come amid a vast counter-offensive against al-Shabab strongholds in the centre and south of the country.

    Somalia has been under a state of emergency since Wednesday.

    Emergency rule allows Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the president, to make major decisions without consulting the parliament.

    Violence in Somalia has killed at least 18,000 civilians since the start of 2007 and displaced at least one million others.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Pie peace: My last argument with my sister

    Pie peace: My last argument with my sister

    In a family of 13 siblings, Lori was militant in her maternal agenda; making prom dresses and keeping watch over pie.

    From the US to Afghanistan: Rediscovering the mother who left me

    From the US to Afghanistan: Rediscovering the mother who left me

    Tracee Herbaugh's mother, Sharon, abandoned her when she was born, pursuing a career from which she never returned.

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    For Ethiopia, a new dam holds the promise of much-needed electricity; for Egypt, the fear of a devastating water crisis.