BELED HAWO, Somalia Jan 9 (Garowe Online) -
The mayor of a provincial capital in southwestern Somalia was killed on Friday by Islamist insurgents, Radio Garowe reports.
Ahmed Abdalle Magan, the mayor of Garbaharey town, the regional capital of Gedo, died at the scene after insurgents used a rocket launcher against his vehicle.
"The mayor died after a rocket [shell] hit his car, which also wounded five of his personal guards," said a witness, adding: "Another vehicle escaped the attack."
The late mayor was on his way to Dolow, a town along the Somali-Ethiopian border that serves as a major base for Ethiopian troops.
Gedo region has entered a period of instability ever since the Islamist group Al Shabaab seized control of key towns, including Garbaharey and Bardhere.
But Ethiopian-backed warlord Col. Barre Hirale has returned to Gedo in an attempt to violently expel Al Shabaab from the region and has successfully re-captured some towns.
Ethiopia has pledged to withdraw its troops from Somalia in the coming weeks, but the military operation in Gedo region signals that Ethiopia is not prepared to completely pull out of Somalia, where Islamist fighters are positioned to take control.
Source: Garowe Online