Mogadishu — Reports in the Daily Nation say Government forces in Hiran region in Central Somalia have early yesterday launched an attack on the loyalists of Hizbu Islam, one of the radical Islamist groups opposing the Transitional Federal Government in Beleweyne Town, 335 kilometres north of Mogadishu.
Ahmed Abdallah Inji, the commander of government forces said they captured positions previously held by the rebel group. He said the clashes started at Eel Gaal Village, 10km north of the town.
Residents in the affected area confirmed government forces with the support of followers of Ahlu Sunna wal-Jamea, a moderate Islamist group allied with the TFG, seized the strategic Gente Quindice hillside overlooking the town.
People sheltered on the outskirts of the town after fleeing floods from Shabelle River, said the warring sides used manner of weapons. The heavy exchange of fire and shells forced many of the displaced peoples to flee back to the town.
Despite claims by the government commanders in the region and confirmation by the residents, Hizbu Islam official Mohamed Weheliye Odowa denied losing positions.