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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Units of Foreign Fighters in the Battle for Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Somali government said Sunday foreign militants are involved in the deadly fighting that has been escalating in Mogadishu for the fourth day with casualties mounting.

Somali National Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden said foreign militants have been fighting alongside the Al-Shabaab fighters in fierce confrontation with the Somali government forces.

  • "We have information that several units of foreign militants are fighting against our forces and this is not just an accusation... people have witnessed them around the areas they are operating in Mogadishu," the minister told reporters in the Somali capital.
  • Leaders of the Islamist Al-Shabaab movement do not deny the existence of non-Somali fighters among their ranks saying they do not consider a Muslim to be a foreigner.
Local residents have reported seeing several foreign fighters alongside local Al shabaab forces, saying the foreign militants, who were not hiding their faces like they did before, seemed to be from Asia and Africa.

Clashes are unabated in Mogadishu amid reports of increasing casualties. Hospital and ambulance service officials said
  • nearly 50 people were killed and more than 200 others wounded during the fighting in the past 24 hours.
  • Three journalists were wounded after a shell hit the compound they were in when they were covering a press conference held by a senior Al-Shabaab official near the frontline.

The wounded include Abdelnasir Nur Gedi, a cameraman for the local Horn Cable Television, and Bashiir Qaliif Gaani and Mohamed Ali Nahar, both from Shabelle Radio and TV.

Local insurgent groups often held news conferences to update their activities, particularly the clashes with Somali government forces.

The Rest @ China View

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