Street FIGHT:Conflict
20 Killed as TFG Forces Battle with Al-Shabaab
A Top Leader of The Local Militia Among Those Killed
By AWEYS CADDE 09/30/2011
Somalia Report
At least 20 people were killed and more than 40 others injured on Thursday when the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops and pro-government militias of Raskamboni fought against the militant al-Shabaab in Dhobley district of Lower Jubba region.

According to locals, the fierce battle erupted after al-Shabaab fighters launched attacks on TFG and Raskaboni forces bases on the outskirts of Dhobley. During the fighting, the Islamist insurgents seized the district, the residents said.

Al-Shabaan chairman in Lower and Middle Jubba regions, Sheikh Abukar Ali Adam, speaking on a pro-al-Shabaab radio station in Kismayo, proclaimed victory, saying the militant group had killed dozens of TFG soldiers and seized vehicles.

“The Mujahedeen attacked the pro-Kenya militias in Dhobley on Thursday, thanks to Allah after two hours of fighting we captured the district,” he said, adding that they had seized two military vehicles and a large number of weapons.

But Mohamed Hassn Bule, a TFG top military official in Dhobley denied the claims that al-Shabaab had seized the district.

“They attacked three of our bases on the outskirts of Dhobley, but we defended the district and they ran away. They never entered Dhobley,” he told Somalia Report.

Meanwhile, local sources confirmed to Somalia Report that al-Shabaab seized the district, but TFG and Raskamboni fighters launched a fierce counterattack and recaptured their bases late on Thursday.

“About 4:00 a.m. local time (0100GMT), heavy fighting broke out in Dhobley, and al-Shabaab completely controlled the villages of Dhobley, but TFG and Raskamboni counter-attacked and seized the district again,” Saynab Mukhrtar, a resident in Dhobley said.

Reports from the border town of Lipoyo in Kenya indicate that a local hospital had admitted 41 TFG and Rakamboni injured fighters from Dhobley. TFG officials also confirmed to Somalia Report that the chief commander of Raskamboni fighters, Hussein Mohamed Shakul, known as Qarre was killed by al-Shabab in the fighting.

Dhobley is a strategic district in the border between Kenya and Somalia. TFG troops seized the district from al-Shabaab early in May. Though the TFG defense ministry reshuffled the military officials in Dhobley last week, there has been a rift between TFG and the local Raskamboni militia.