GURIEL (SD) – More than twenty of on and off fierce fighting between Somali forces and Ahlusunna Waljamaa fighters in Guriel town, the moderate Islamist group, Ahlusunna was given two hours ultimatum to vacate the town in central Somalia.
The state-owned media, quoting officials, reported that the government had allowed the Ahlu Sunna forces to haul away the bodies of their fighters killed in Saturday fighting.
The report added that Ahlu Sunna political leader Sheikh Shakir was also ordered to leave Guriel by 12pm local time.
The ultimatum followed renewed fighting Sunday morning after a night lull.
Meanwhile, Guriel deputy district commissioner, Abdishakur Ahmed Farah, said they had expelled all Ahlu Sunna forces who were fighting in parts of the town.
“Government forces are in control of the entire Guriel district. They have been able to capture a large number of prisoners who were fighting in parts of Guriel town,” Farah said.
Farah called on the people to remain inside the town till the operations are concluded.
“I am appealing to the people of Guriel who are at their homes the town to stay there. An emergency operation is underway in the town where government forces are pursuing Ahlu Sunna remnants. We are telling people to stay at home,” said Farah.
At least 20 fatalities were recorded from both sides following the deadly fighting in the town.
Among the dead was the commander of the US-trained Danab unit in the Galmudug region Abdilatif Falifyle.