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|Monday, August 06, 2001, updated at 08:23(GMT+8)|
Simultaneous Heavy Fightings Erupt in SomaliaSimultaneous heavy armed confrontations Sunday erupted in the northeastern port town of Bossaso in Somalia's semi-autonomous region Puntland and around the strategic southern town of Jilib, 350 kilometers south of Mogadishu.
The fighting in Bossaso town of Puntland is in between the supporters of Colonel Abdullahi Yussuf Ahmed and his arch rival Yussuf Hajji Nur. According to reports reaching here in Mogadishu, at least three people have been killed and more than 23 others wounded when militiamen supporting Ahmed launched an attack against the airport of the town controlled by militiamen supporting Nur.
Eyewitnesses in Bossaso town said the fighting has been the most serious armed confrontation Bossaso town has ever witnessed. The town has fallen into a chaotic situation after the warring sides employed all kinds of weapons they possessed including the rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, the eyewitnesses said.
The fighting at the airport has since spread to the city center where most of the civilians were wounded. The most terrific place was the Heart Group Headquarters at the center of the town where militiamen supporting Ahmed had been stationed.
Ahmed and Nur are reportedly fighting for the presidency of the regional government established in 1998 after the Cairo peace deal between Somalia's warlords failed. Ahmed has been crowned president for the regional government for three years which expired at the end of June this year, but he decided to seek prolongation without going for elections, something Nur and many other politicians and clan elders did not accept or recognize.
Meanwhile, another heavy fighting, after a day of relative calmness, broke out Sunday between the Jubba Valley Alliance controlling Kismaio town and the Somali Reconciliation and Reconstruction Council (SRRC) around the strategic town of Jilib, some 350 kilometers south of the capital Mogadishu.
The fighting is said to be the most serious since it broke out between the two sides some 10 days ago over the control of the southern port town of Kismaio, 500 kilometers south of Mogadishu.
More than 40 battle wagons from both sides and nearly 1000 heavily armed militiamen were involved in the fighting on Sunday.
Colonel Barreh Hiraleh, one of the military leaders of the Jubba Valley Alliance, told the reporter on the VHF radio in Jilib town that he has won the battle after a fierce fighting broke out in and around the town.
According to Hiraleh, his militiamen have carried out what he called a sweep operation against the other side. But he admitted that one of his men had been killed and 13 others wounded in the fighting Sunday.
He did not speak about the losses of the other side, but independent sources confirmed the death of 30 people and the wounding of more than 50 others in Sunday's fighting.
On the other side, the SRRC has also claimed a similar victory against the Jubba Valley Alliance. Mohamed Ali Aden Qalinleh, whom the reporter contacted on the telephone line in Baidoa town, said his men were heading towards Kismaio town.
There are no independent sources confirming the allegation of the two sides. However, a radio operator from Hargeisa Yarey village, about 20 kilometers west of Jilib town, said he could hear the loud noise of the heavy exchange of gunfire in Jilib town.
The radio operator believes that Jilib town has late this afternoon fallen for the Jubba Valley Alliance after the shooting subsided.
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