Somali govt forces take town from al-Shabaab

Somali government troops and allied forces retook the south-eastern town of Bulo Hawo, near the Kenyan border, on Sunday after defeating al-Qaeda-inspired al-Shabaab Islamists, officials and witnesses said.

“We took control of the city after defeating the enemy,” Mohamed Abdi Kalil, the government’s governor for the province, said by telephone.

“Residents were applauding with happiness after they saw the national army back in town after living under the tough regime of al-Shabaab,” he added.

Kalil said many al-Shabaab fighters had been killed in the fighting, while one government soldier was killed and two injured.

A number of residents said government troops and fighters from the Sufi sect Ahlu Sunna dislodged al-Shabaab in a battle lasting about an hour.

“The fighting stopped after one hour and the al-Shabaab fighters were defeated,” said Bulo Hawo resident Ali Moalim Yasin. “I saw six dead bodies, all of them combatants.”

Another resident, Mohamed Shakur said: “The Islamists left town after they lost the battle, and the dead bodies were lying on the outskirts.”

The situation had quieted down and the government imposed a curfew at sunset, he added.

Al-Shabaab controls large swathes of southern and central Somalia and have wrested control of much of the capital, Mogadishu, where they have relentlessly attacked government and African Union forces.

The Ahlu Sunna was founded in 1991 to promote moderate Sufi Islam in Somalia. It renounced a posture of non-violence in early 2009 to take on the radical al-Shabaab and its allies from the Hezb al-Islam movement.

The Ahlu Sunna does not fully recognise Somali President Sherif Sheikh Ahmed’s transitional government but it too wants to rid Somalia of al-Shabaab and its al-Qaeda-inspired ideology.

Somalia has had no functioning central government since a civil war erupted with the 1991 overthrow of president Mohamed Siad Barre. — Sapa-AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

2019: The ones who left us

From Uyinene Mrwetyana, Oliver Mtukudzi to Xolani Gwala, Mail & Guardian remembers those who have passed on

More battles ahead for domestic worker unions

Florence Sosiba, speaks to the Mail & Guardian about how important domestic workers are and exclusion in the COIDA

“Life has been good to me, considering where I come from” – Xolani Gwala

Just over a year ago, veteran radio presenter Xolani Gwala’s cancer was in remission. He spoke to the Mail & Guardian once he was back on air.

Kanya Cekeshe’s lawyer appeals decision not to grant him bail to the high court

Kanya Cekeshe’s legal team filed an urgent appeal at the Johannesburg high court on Tuesday against Monday’s judgment by magistrate Theunis Carstens.

Leader’s principal aim to build IFP

Gravitas: Velenkosini Hlabisa brings his experience to his new post as leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Police Minister Bheke Cele addresses Jeppestown

Police minister Bheki Cele visited Jeppestown on Tuesday to speak to business owners and community leaders.

Jailed journalist a symbol of a disillusioned Zimbabwe

Hopewell Chin’ono backed President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he succeeded Robert Mugabe. Now he’s in jail

Sisulu axes another water board

Umgeni Water’s board in KwaZulu-Natal was appointed irregularly by her predecessor, the water and sanitation minister claims

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday