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Rival Somali Islamic Militias Clash in Power Struggle

After two days of clashes, a military commander for the Sufi militia, Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, says his forces have seized the town of Beledweyne in the Hiran region from Hizbul Islam rebels. The commander, Aden Mohamoud, says both sides took heavy casualties in what residents describe as among the worst fighting there in recent months.  Mohamoud says Ahlu-Sunna forces are in full control of Beledweyne and the town is now calm. The fighting broke out Sunday after Ahlu-Sunna fighters and local clan militias launched an offensive to capture Beledweyne, a strategic town near the border with

AU to Ask UN to Focus on Somalia's Global Terrorism Role

The African Union is urging the United Nations to boost its support for Somalia's fragile government in view of the rise of terrorist activity in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping calls the overall security situation in the Horn of Africa nation "unstable, volatile and challenging'. In a report to the AU Peace and Security Council Friday, Ping notes several tragic security breakdowns in the past few months.

Al-Qaida Militants Retreat from Strategic Somali Town

Somalia's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants say they have made a tactical retreat from Dhusamareb, the central Somali town al-Shabab attacked three days ago in a bid to oust a rival Islamist group.  Al-Shabab views Dhusamareb as an important stepping stone in its quest to put all of Somalia under al-Shabab control. The spokesman of the Islamist militia Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, Sheik Abdullahi Sheik Abu Yusuf, says al-Shabab was forced to withdraw from Dhusamareb after losing numerous fighters during Saturday's day-long battle.   Abu Yusuf says more than 100 bodies of al-Shabab fighters ha

Al-Shabab Militants Divided over Tactics, Foreign Control

A rising dispute between militants in Somalia may have split the country's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group into two factions.

Somali Pirates Release Greek-Owned Ship

Somali pirates have released a Greek-owned cargo ship and its 24 Ukrainian crew members after seven months in captivity. The director of Greek shipping firm Alloceans Shipping , Spyros Minas, says pirates freed the Ariana Thursday, after the company paid a ransom. In Kiev, Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko also announced the crew's release. The shipping company did not reveal the size of the ransom, but pirates told reporters the amount was more than $2.5 million. Pirates have continued to hijack vessels despite the presence of foreign naval patrols near Somalia. They are st

Al-Shabab Denies Responsibility for Deadly Bombing

Militant Islamist group al-Shabab has denied responsibility for a deadly suicide blast Thursday that killed at least 22 people, including 3 government ministers and a number of Somalia's educated elite.

Deadly Suicide Blast Rips Through Hotel in Somalia

A deadly hotel bombing in Mogadishu has killed at least 19 people, including three Somali Cabinet ministers.  Some reports say the death toll could be higher.  The blast targeted a university graduation ceremony being attended by a number of government officials.   Mogadishu's Shamu Hotel was hosting a graduation ceremony for Banadir University.  Eyewitnesses tell VOA a suicide bomber gained access to the venue dressed as a woman, donning a full abaya and a veil.

Islamist Ally Turns on Somalia's al-Shabab

In Somalia, an Islamist faction says it considers its former ally, al-Shabab, to be the greatest threat to the country.  A spokesman for the leader of the Ras Kamboni faction of Hizbul Islam says Hizbul Islam fighters are preparing to challenge al-Shabab in all areas of southern and central Somalia. The spokesman for the leader of the Ras Kamboni Brigade tells VOA the fight against al-Shabab militants, which began in late September in the southern port city of Kismayo, is expected to continue until al-Shabab is ousted from Somalia.  Abdinasir Seraar is the spokesman for Ahmed Madobe, the m

Somali Pirates Seize Greek-Owned Tanker

Maritime officials say Somalia pirates have seized an oil tanker, some 1,100 kilometers off the coast of Somalia. Authorities say the Greek-owned Maran Centaurus, with 28 crewmembers on board, was hijacked Sunday.  Officials say the tanker, which can transport more than 2-million barrels of oil, was sailing from the Middle East to the United States. A tanker full of oil would be worth millions and could pose a huge security and environmental threat.  Somali pirates have hijacked dozens of ships over the past two years, demanding and receiving millions of dollars in ransom from the