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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Somali arch-rivals launch fresh attacks

Deadly clashes have once again broken out between two rival militant groups al-Shabaab and Ahlu Sunnah in central Somalia, leaving at least 41 people dead.

Fighting erupted in the strategic central Somali town of Mataban early on Tuesday, after Somalia's most prominent anti-government group al-Shabab attacked the Ahlu Sunnah-controlled town.

Clashes, the heaviest of its kind, have so far left 41 people dead and around 50 others injured, medics and witnesses told our Press TV correspondent.

Most of the dead are reportedly from the al-Shabab faction and the death toll is expected to rise as fighting over the town continues.

During the past weeks, the warring groups have relentlessly clashed over strongholds in central Somalia, with neither side attaining a definitive victory.

Bloodshed and violence has ignited across Somalia in recent months, after the western-backed interim government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed brought Ahlu Sunnah on board ahead of an expected military push against the fighters.

Also on Tuesday ethnic clashes broke out in the central Somali region of Galguduud which borders Ethiopia, leaving at least 14 people dead and 19 others injured, local hospital medics said.

Galgaduud is known for its relative peace and security despite clan diversity and general opposition to the government.

The fresh attacks have forced hundreds of families to flee their homes, adding to the humanitarian crisis in the region.

Somalia has been suffering from two decades of civil strife following the ousting of former dictator Mohammad Siad Barre in 1991.

Years of fighting between rival warlords and an inability to deal with famine and disease have led to the deaths of some one hundred thousand people.

In 2006, the Union of Islamic Courts created a semblance of peace and order in southern Somalia for about six months, but the Ethiopian invasion in December 2006 ended the brief lull in the storm.

Source: Press TV

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