BELEDWEYNE (SD) – Hundreds of heavily armed rebel fighters are inch closer capture Beledweyne town in central Somalia as the government soldiers retreated following hours long fighting.
According to multiple sources, forces allied to former Somali National Army commandant General Abukar Huud and Col. Nur Dhere had stationed on the outskirts of the town.
The fighting between the rebel forces and the government soldiers has been ongoing for the last three days.
Speaking to the media, general Huud told BBC Somali Service Sunday night that his forces were in areas near the town and reiterated his earlier stance for a break-away state from HirShabelle state. Huud accused the Federal Government of forcing them to join Middle Shabelle to form HirShabelle State contrary to their wishes.
“There is no administration called HirShabelle in Hiran. Whatever happens, all that happens is that. Like the coercive federal government it has built (Hirshabelle administration) it is not something we can accept and do. We are called Hiiraan… this region is the rest of the region, we have protested against this injustice done to us, ”said General Hud.
Huud also denied accusations by Hiiraan regional governor Ali Jeyte that his forces attacked government forces in Qowlad, about 12km north of Beledweyne noting that his forces were instead attacked.
Hud and his faction are protesting the election of Ali Guudlaawe as the president of HirShabelle arguing his election violated clan power matrix which dictated a new president should have come from Hiiraan region.