From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun May 17 2009 - 07:41:21 EDT
Somali militants capture key town
Sunday, 17 May 2009 11:18 UK
Hardline Islamist militants have captured a strategically important town
north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, eyewitnesses say.
Members of al-Shabab, a group fighting government forces in Somalia,
seized the town of Jowhar on Sunday morning.
One resident told Reuters that there had been "serious fighting" in
which at least seven people had been killed.
Jowhar was in 2005 chosen as the temporary location for the country's
The Somali government has been losing ground in recent weeks and now
controls little more than the centre of the capital, with the support of
African Union troops.
On 15 May, Somalia's president appealed to Islamist insurgents to
negotiate as intermittent fighting continued in Mogadishu.
Describing the clashes in Jowhar, town elder Ali Moalim Hassan told news
agency AFP that "the other Islamist militia backing the government
deserted their positions" - ceding control of the town to al-Shabab.
Al-Shabab is believed to have attacked Jowhar on Sunday morning on two
fronts. After entering the town, militants took over the jail and
The government is thought to be attempting to bring in reinforcements to
retake the area.
Jowhar is the home town of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed - and
now that the country's rainy season has arrived, the town is also the
only passable route into central Somalia from the capital.
Islamist fighters in Mogadishu, 16 May 2009
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