GURI EL, Somalia Jan 11 (Garowe Online) -
At least 30 people were killed and tens wounded in central Somalia fighting between the Islamist Al Shabaab group and Ethiopian-backed warlords, Radio Garowe reports.
The battle erupted around 5:30am Sunday morning after Al Shabaab guerrillas attacked a checkpoint manned by the warlord militia, who claim to fight under the banner of Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamee'a, a Muslim Sufi group.
Communication lines were cut off for more than four hours in Guri El, a small trading town in the central region of Galgadud.
A spokesman for the warlord militia, Abdirisak Mohamed Ali, said the fighting was between Al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamee'a.
"Our fighters killed members of Al Shabaab, many of who were children," Mr. Ali said, while sending condolences to their families.
He said one militia fighter was killed on their side and three wounded.
The battle destroyed homes and businesses in Guri El, while upwards of 50 wounded people are being treated at under-equipped medical centers.
Al Shabaab group has not spoken out regarding today's deadly battle in Galgadud region.
Insiders have reported that the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamee'a group is led by warlords, who are funded and armed by the Ethiopian government to fight against Al Shabaab, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
A similar Ahu Sunnah Wal Jamee'a group, which is fighting against Al Shabaab in Gedo region in the southwest, is led by notorious warlord Col. Barre Hirale.
Source: Garowe Online