Several killed as Sufi militia storms key town in central Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The once ally cum bitter rival Ahlu Sunna Waljama [ASWJ] militia stormed Dhusamareb, the regional administrative capital of Galmadug on Friday, triggering heavy fighting which left several people according to reports from eyewitnesses in central Somalia.
At some point, photos of residents fleeing the city emerged, raising questions about the safety of ordinary people even as the country prepares for a titanic presidential election, which is set to be held on Sunday, May 15th in the capital Mogadishu.
The regional forces from Galmadug had to quickly seek the services of elite Gorgor troops from the Somali National Army [SNA] as the militia, who once fought along with government forces, temporarily seized the town, triggering anxiety and panic.
Regional leader Ahmed Karie alias Qoorqoor swiftly took off from Mogadishu where he has been campaigning for outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo as the militia stormed the town from different directions.
But after an intense gunfight, the militia, one-time allies of government forces in the fight against Al-Shabaab, were successfully pushed out as normalcy was restored. The Sufi group has been battling for control since last year after they were ejected from Guri'el.
"Somali National Army’s special forces [Gorgor] and Galmudug State regional forces have concluded a security operation in Dhusamareb town where disruptive militias attempted to attack, on Friday. The Army restored law and the order in the city," state media reported.
The group accuses the government of abandoning them besides pushing them out of Dhusamareb without fulfilling their initial agreement. The group has been critical in the fight against Al-Shabaab and the fallout could trigger a resurgence of the Al-Qaeda associate.
Security in Somalia has been a major concern owing to the fact that the country has struggled to bring order for decades. On Sunday, the country will elect a new president whose first major task would be a restoration of safety in the Horn of Africa nation.