138 Killed in Central Somalia Fighting

Published on Sunday 17th January 2010

A Mogadishu-based right group says the death toll from the recent fighting between Somali armed groups in central Somalia has reached 138 with more than 344 others, mostly fighters from both sides injured.

Elman Human Right and Peace Group says 63,000 residents have also being displaced in the fighting which was described worst to hit the central regions.

"At least 138 people have died in the fighting that rocked Galgadud and Hiran regions. 344 others, Mostly from warring sides have been wounded," said Ali Yasin Gedi, the acting chairman of Elman group.

Most of the displaced residents are from Dhusamareb and Beledweyn, the administrative capitals of Galgadud and Hiran regions respectively, where the armed groups engaged in deadly battle over the last weeks.

Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaa, a pro-government sufi sect, which controls large swathes of central Somalia,was getting backings from the government troops with the war against the two main insurgent groups, Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam.

According to reports that reached Garowe Online, the tension in Beledweyn town, which experienced heavy clashes for the last five days, has calm down but almost the entire town's residents have vacated to the safer areas.

The Human right group estimates that at least 19,000 people have been killed and over 1.5 million others were forced to flee to the neighbouring countries since 2007.



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