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Islamic forces retreat in Somalia; government offers conditional amnesty to militia

Islamic forces retreat in Somalia; government offers conditional amnesty to militia

Ethiopian and Somali government troops on Wednesday entered the strategic city of Jowhar, the last major town on the northern road to the capital, routing Islamic militiamen and forcing them to retreat, residents said.
A former warlord, who ruled Jowhar before it was captured by the Council of Islamic Courts in June, led the Somali government troops as they drove into the city, resident said.
"Ethiopian troops and Mohammed Dheere have entered the city," said Abshir Ali Gabre.
The government forces attacked at dawn with artillery, mortars and heavy machine guns and Islamic fighters used irrigation canals as fortifications, witnesses said. The militia, which wants to rule Somalia according to Islamic law, had stopped what their leaders had earlier called a tactical retreat to defend Jowhar.
Hundreds of people began fleeing Jowhar, anticipating major fighting, but others seemed resigned to it after suffering from drought and flooding over the last two years.
"We do not know where to escape, we are already suffering from floods, hunger and disease," said Abdale Haji Ali from Jowhar. "We are awaiting death."


Updated : 2020-11-30 07:35 GMT+08:00