Armed Sufis kill 12 as President Mohamud president arrives in central Somalia

RFI

In Somalia at least 12 people have been killed and 30 wounded in the central Somali town of Guriel after militia loyal to a Sufi sect attacked forces loyal to the government. Earlier Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud landed in the region.

Local sources said Tuesday that a heavily armed Sufi Islamic sect, Ahlusunnah Waljama, attacked positions manned by government forces in Guriel over the previous day.

At least 12 people are believed to have died in the attack, with dozens more wounded.

The unexpected attack coincided with the arrival of PresidentHassan Sheikh Mohamud in Dhusamareb, the capital of Galgadud province, which is near Guriel.

Mohamud is attending a conference aimed at paving the way for the formation of an autonomous administration in a bid to unify the people of central Somalia.

Ahlusunnah Waljama had formerly struck a deal with the Somali government after defeating Al-Shebab, following numerous battles for control of the region.

Since then large swathes of the central Galgadud region have remained under Ahlsunnah Waljama control but the group was dismantled after a large part of its forces joined the government’s national army in the early 2013.

It is not clear if the latest fighting was politically motivated but sources say that Ahlusunnah Waljama has never been consulted about the formation of a central administration – a move which is now under way.

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