Somali Governors hunt for insurgents

Published on Friday 28th March 2008

Somalia, March 27: Two governors in southern Somalia are cooperating on the military front against the country's insurgent groups, who are intent on overthrowing the transitional federal government and its Ethiopian military backers.


Yusuf Daboged and Mohamed Omar Delle, the governors of Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions, respectively, embarked on a military campaign Thursday morning aimed at flushing out insurgent fighters, who were reported to be hiding in Bulo Burte district of Hiran. Gov. Delle told local press in the Middle Shabelle capital of Jowhar that insurgents hiding in Bulo Burte are the same group who attacked and briefly seized Jowhar yesterday, Garowe Online reports said. At least three government soldiers were killed during yesterday's gunfight and "many prisoners" freed, according to the governor of Middle Shabelle. In Beletwein, capital of Hiran, Gov. Daboged responded to Delle's claim by saying that the Middle Shabelle regional authority "has the right" to pursue suspected insurgents into Hiran region. Gov. Delle's deputy, Ahmed "Jandhay" Omar, was reported to have reached the southern end of Bulo Burte accompanied by heavily-armed regional troops, sources said. Hiran Gov. Daboged's armored convoy hit a landmine on its way to Bulo Burte this morning, killing one soldier and wounding three others, according to witnesses in Halgan village. A brief exchange of gunfire ensued thereafter, pitting Daboged's government soldiers against suspected insurgents. Eyewitness reports indicated that there were casualties on both sides, but the information was difficult to independently confirm. The two Somali governors' independent response to insurgent attacks follows the Mogadishu-based interim government's lack of power to assist regions in the war against rebels. Somalia faces one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, with 40 international aid agencies appealing for more assistance to the war-ravaged Horn of Africa country.