Residents flee Mogadishu

2012-04-01 10:10

Mogadishu - Somali residents on Saturday fled one of the capital's last Islamist strongholds after a day of heavy fighting in which African forces backing government troops said they seized the area.

The few families still in the sprawling Deynile neighbourhood made the most of a lull in fighting to flee the area, which has for years been a haven for the al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab, witnesses said.

The situation remained tense, and Dahir Mohamed, a local resident, told AFP that "we are still confused as to who is controlling what in the district. The situation is very volatile."

"There is no fighting today and the Afgoye corridor road was reopened," said another resident, Asha Osman, adding that families were leaving.

Deynile commands access to the Afgoye corridor, northwest of Mogadishu, which is controlled by the Shebab and is home to the world's largest concentration of internally displaced people.

Shooting still heard

The African Union Mission in Somalia on Friday said that Somali government troops backed by AMISOM forces had "seized the district of Deynile and routed the al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab terrorists."

But a humanitarian aid source reported that shooting could still be heard in the area well after the statement by AMISOM, a well-equipped force of more than 10 000 soldiers from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti.

A Somali government commander insisted on Saturday that his men were in almost complete control of the disputed neighbourhood.

"The military operation in Deynile was successful and the remnants of the al-Qaeda allies were routed," Abdikarim Yusuf Dhego-Badan told journalists.

"Our troops are now stationed in almost every part of the district and the situation is calm."

A Shebab official however denied the claim.

"The enemy lost in the battle and we have destroyed several of their armoured vehicles. Their ambition to take control of Deynile was foiled by the mujahedeen fighters", said Sheikh Abdalla Abu-Abdalla, a Shebab official.

"I assure you that all the areas the enemy attacked in Deynile are under the control of the mujahedeen fighters," he added.

Another resident said part of the neighbourhood appeared to still be under Shebab control while part had been taken by AMISOM. The area around the hospital, which had been in the thick of Friday's fighting, was a "no man's land" between AMISOM and Shebab positions on Saturday morning, he said.

A small group of Shebab fighters had occupied the zone later in the day, only to withdraw without sparking renewed clashes, he said.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  somalia  |  east africa  |  uprisings

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.