The Somali jihad has never gone away, but with the second town seized in 24 hours, could things be heating up again? “Somali Islamist fighters seize 2nd town,” by Mohammed Olad Hassan for the Associated Press:
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Islamist insurgents killed five government soldiers while
briefly taking a strategic town in central Somalia, police and residents said, the second such seizure within 24 hours.
The attack late Thursday took place in Belet Weyne, near a critical road junction that links Somalia to the border with Ethiopia. Hundreds of troops are stationed at the junction, which is also Ethiopia’s main supply route.
“They launched a surprise attack on the town from different directions, facing
pockets of resistance from government forces and immediately took the control of the police
station, the prison and a hotel government regional officials were using,” said a police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
The town’s police chief, Col. Abdi Aden, confirmed that five government soldiers had been killed.
Local resident Duniyo Ali said the fighters had retained control of the town for about three hours before voluntarily withdrawing. The area was now calm, she said.
Also Thursday, residents said Islamists had seized Hudur, a strategic southwestern Somali town that lies along the road leading from Ethiopia into Somalia,
without firing a shot.
Islamist fighters have vowed to wage an Iraq-style war on the shaky Western-backed transitional government after Somali troops supported by their Ethiopian allies
chased the Islamists from power in December 2006.