From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Fri Jan 22 2010 - 17:13:21 EST
Islamist rebels take central Somali town, eight dead
Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:02pm GMT
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - At least eight people were killed when insurgents from
the hardline Hizbul Islam and al Shabaab rebel groups took a town in central
Somalia from pro-government militia, residents and a rights group said.
More than a dozen others were injured when the rebels struck Baladweyne,
capital of the Hiiran region, and wrestled it from clan militia loyal to the
government and moderate Islamist group Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca.
"At least eight people were killed and 21 others were injured around
Baladweyne. All these casualties took place in the suburbs of the town," Ali
Yasin Gedi, the vice chairman of the Elman human rights group told Reuters.
One resident said the insurgents looted offices of the World Food Programme
(WFP) and Save the Children (UK) aid agencies and carted off computers and
"I also saw them taking a car. Islamists are now in the town but the clan
militia may return any time. Most of the residents fled days ago except a
few poor ones like me," she said.
WFP said this month it was suspending much of its work in parts of the
Concerns about Al Shabaab, which is viewed by Washington as al Qaeda's proxy
in the region, has risen in recent weeks due to its links with al Qaeda
groups in the Arabian Peninsula.
C Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved
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