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Somalia: Tension between allied Islamists mounts in southern town

June 19, 2010

The following article is reprinted with permission from Mareeg Online.

Somalia:  Tension between allied Islamists mounts in southern town
©  Mareeg Online
June 19, 2010

AFGOYE – Tension between Hizbul Islam and al Shabaab Islamist groups has mounted in Afgoye town, 30 km south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses said on Saturday.

Residents say al Shabaab fighters armed with battle wagons were deployed near the town where Hizbul Islam fighters control.

Hizbul Islam officials sent more fighters as reinforcement to the town and fighting that can erupt between the two groups is imminent.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of Hizbul Islam criticized al Shabaab over a recent take over of Baladweyne town, the regional capital of Hiiraan region in central Somalia from his group.

Speaking to the reporters in Mogadishu, Aweys rebuffed the actions taken by al Shabaab and called on them to respect the legitimacy of his group.

Separately, another tension mounted in Yaqshid district in Mogadishu after al Shabaab fighters have reported tried to take over Yaqshid police station from Hizbul Islam.

The standoff between the two groups started in October last year when al Shabaab announced an administration in the port town of Kismayo unilaterally.

Since then, there has been secret hunt down assassinations between the two groups and yet they fight against the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) and the African Union Troops together.

Residents in Elasha Biyaha and Afgoye towns expressed concern about the troop movement and the tension which has arisen in the area and called on the Islamist groups not to fight in the populated areas where thousands of IDPS reside.

Mareeg Online

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