Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Heavy Fighting Resumes in Somalia

Heavy fighting once again resumed on Tuesday afternoon in Middle Shabelle region between theforces of the transitional national government (TNG) of Somalia and those of warlord Mohamed Omar Habeb best known as Mohamed D.


Heavy fighting once again resumed on Tuesday afternoon in Middle Shabelle region between theforces of the transitional national government (TNG) of Somalia and those of warlord Mohamed Omar Habeb best known as Mohamed D.

According to independent sources, Tuesday's fighting took placein and around the villages of El-Baraf and Adely, about 40 kilometers northeast of Mahadday district where the fighting brokeout on Monday morning.

The sources confirmed that the forces of Mohamed Dhere have played the tactic of using unexpected roads which would led to those villages avoiding the defense lines of those of Interior Minister Dahir Dayah in Ali Foldhere village, just close to Mahadday district, 113 kilometers north of Mogadishu.

At least five battle wagons and nearly 100 heavily armed militiamen have gone onto this roundabout road and crushed the fewmilitiamen left behind for preparing the logistics for their fellowmen at the frontlines close to Mahadday district for the interior minister.

It has been quit a surprise for the militiamen of the interior minister that the forces of Mohamed Dhere have reached their villages without anyone noticing them.

It is not yet known about the casualty figures as a result of this latest round of fighting, but confirmed sources indicated that at least eight men were killed and at least 15 others woundedfrom both sides.

According to sources close to Mohamed Dhere, at least three of his fighters were killed and three more wounded ones were brought to the hospital in Jowhar town, the base of Mohamed Dhere, but there has been no official word concerning this fighting as yet from any of the opponents. Because of Tuesday's fighting, there have been hundreds of families who fled their villages.

Many of these internally displaced people have reached Jalalaqsi district of Hiran region not very far away from where the fighting started.

Most of these refugees took very little of their belongings with them and the local aid agencies are already expressing concern over serious humanitarian crises if this fighting does notstop quickly.

The reason for fighting relates to the political animosity between warlord Mohamed Dhere and Interior Minister Dahir Dayah who both belong to the main Abgal clan dominating north Mogadishu.

The fighters of their respective subclansmen, the Agon-Yar and Warsanegli are now engaged in this bitter armed confrontation. There is little effort in curbing down this hostility between the opposing sides.

Few elders in Jowhar and others in Mogadishu have made different appeals for both sides to stop the bloodletting between the brotherly subclansmen and instead engage in dialogue around a table or under a tree to settle the differences peacefully.

The political differences between the two men culminated with the attack last month against the house of the interior minister in Mogadishu by the militiamen of warlord Mohamed Dhere.

Mohamed Dhere has accused the government of destabilizing Middle Shabelle region, while the government accused Warlord Mohamed Dhere of trying to force the people in Middle Shabelle region to support him forcefully and pay taxes.

Each of the two sides has accused the other for instigating thefighting Monday which claimed the lives of at least 19 people.

Warlord Mohamed Dhere belongs to the Ethiopian-backed Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) which seriously opposes to the transitional national government which Dahir Dayah is its interior minister.

Somalia has been without a central government since the 1991 ouster of Mohammed Siad Barre.

The TNG was set up after a conference of clan elders in 2000, but so far has failed to convince the warlords to accept its rule,and it controls only parts of the capital Mogadishu and pockets ofthe rest of the country.

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