Allied forces attacked in central Somalia, civilians killed

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 Allied forces attacked in central Somalia, civilians killed
Thu. January 24, 2008 08:50 am.- By Mohamed Abdi Farah. – <!– document.write(‘Send this news article‘); // –>  

(SomaliNet) Clashes between the Ethiopian backed government troops and local insurgent groups on Thursday have forced hundreds of Somalis to flee their homes in villages of Hiran region, central Somalia, local officials said.

The commissioner of Jawil district, some miles west of Beledweyn, the provincial city of Hiran region, Abdulahi Abdi Nor known as ‘Abdulahi Garig’ confirmed the fighting between the allied forces and supporters of the ousted Islamic Courts Union.

He said the Islamic militants attacked this morning the positions of the joint forces in Kala-Beyr intersection, 17km northeast of Beledweyn where the rival sides exchanged heavy artillery weapons.

Unconfirmed reports say that a number of Ethiopian soldiers were killed in the latest fighting

Kala-Beyr is the main road connecting Hiran region to the other central regions.

People in the area began fleeing the fighting as 16 civilians killed stray round shells that hit their houses.

Residents said they saw Islamists using battle wagons for the fist time since they were drove out of the country by the Ethiopian forces.

Many villagers grew more concern over further clashes.

Recently fighters loyal to the defeated Union of Islamic Courts have been intensifying in Hiran region to engage war with the interim government troops supported by the Ethiopian forces.

On Wednesday, the Ethiopian forces raided towns near to Beledweyn searching for the suspected Islamists following rumors that former ICU fighters were regrouping in the area.

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