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Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 - 5:11:05 AM
Somalia
al-Shabaab reenter Dinsor, threaten to attack Baidoa

BAIDOA, Somalia Feb 26 (Garowe Online) - Somalia's al-Shabaab guerrillas reentered a town in the southern part of the country hours after Ethiopian troops withdrew Tuesday, locals reported.

Al-Shabaab fighters armed with rocket launchers and machineguns briefly seized control of Dinsor town on Sunday, but withdrew before the night.

In response, the interim government dispatched a convoy of Ethiopian troops to Dinsor. The Ethiopians stayed in Dinsor until midday Tuesday and withdrew back to Baidoa, the seat of the Somali parliament.

“We saw them [al-Shabaab] inside town and we [locals] were surprised,” Dinsor resident Abdullahi told Garowe Online by telephone today. “Police officers changed to civilian clothing to stay safe,” he added.

Abdullahi said he did not see Muktar Robow “Abu Mansur,” the al-Shabaab spokesman who personally led the insurgents’ brief takeover of Dinsor on Sunday.

Abu Mansur, who publicly addressed Dinsor residents during Sunday's takeover, was quoted yesterday by a Mogadishu radio station saying that he was "somewhere inside Bay region," where Baidoa is located.

He threatened to attack Baidoa and other parts of Bay region "where there are Ethiopian troops and those who support them."

It is not clear what military power the insurgents have to attack Baidoa, where thousands of Somali and Ethiopian government troops are stationed.

But the insurgents' threats and takeover of Dinsor come a time Somalia's leaders – President Abdullahi Yusuf, Prime Minister Nur Adde and parliament Speaker Adan Madobe – are all in Mogadishu charting out the proper path to national reconciliation.

Prime Minister Nur Adde has proposed opening peace talks with the armed opposition on several occassions, but opposition fighters including al-Shabaab have refused talks until Ethiopian forces withdraw from Somalia.

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Source: Garowe Online

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