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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Somali fighters take up arms again

Wed, 11 Feb 2009 18:22:13 GMT | PressTV

Fighting between Somalia's transitional government forces and al-Shabaab fighters has left 7 people killed and 11 others seriously wounded.

The battle broke out on Wednesday as al-Shabaab insurgents from Baidoa attacked bases of government soldiers near Hudur district in Bakool region of southwestern Somalia, Press TV correspondent reported.

Witnesses said the dead were all combatants from the warring sides who were using heavy weaponry.

The clashes broke out three days after the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) - the political front of al-Shabaab - agreed to put aside differences with Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, Somalia's new president, and support the government.

Clashes also broke out in Hudur, which has lost communications with other towns. The town's airport is reportedly damaged as a result of the fighting.

Civilians in Hudur and nearby towns fled to safer areas after elder failed to mediate between al-Shabaab fighters and the government soldiers.

The latest developments came after President Sheik Ahmed held talks with the spokesman of al-Shabaab fighters, Sheikh Mukhtar Rowbow Ali Abu Mansur, in the Horn of Africa country's capital of Mogadishu on Sunday.

The meeting was in line with Sheikh Sharif's promise to hold consultations with armed groups in a bid to encourage them to accept peace.

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