Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Somalia: Pakistan and Iraq fighters killed in clashes


A commander with Somalia's army told the BBC Somali Service on Monday that two foreign fighters were killed alongside 10 local rebels during clashes yesterday in Lower Shabelle region. Regional commander Col. Dahir Mohamed Hersi said the two dead fighters are from Pakistan and Iraq, while urging journalists to "go see" the dead bodies.

Col. Hersi's claim that foreign fighters were killed in Somalia could not be independently verified, as the country remains Africa's most dangerous place for journalists.

But local sources told Garowe Online that they saw 3 dead soldiers and "nearly 10" insurgents lying on the ground, as the fight subsided around sunset.

Two civilians were also killed, the confidential sources added.

Somali and Ethiopian troops, who were traveling from Baidoa to Mogadishu, were reported to have taken control of the area, although the troops have not yet resumed their trip to the capital.

Violence continues in Somalia despite the signing of a peace pact last month between the Ethiopian-backed interim government and an Islamist-led opposition coalition.