MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Residents have fled their homes as government troops and Galmudug regional forces close in on the town of Guriel in central Somalia, weeks after it had been taken control by fighters of Ahlu Sunna group.
Allied forces are approaching the town from multiple directions after receiving reinforcements from the capital Mogadishu. A number of planes carrying hundreds of troops and weapons arrived in the region over the past days.
Photos circulated online show residents, including women and children carrying their possessions after fleeing their homes due to fear of fighting between government troops and Sufi fighters.
Ahlu Sunna fighters set up defense lines in and around the town, in what some local elders warned could lead to civilian casualties and the destruction of property.
Former regional security minister said Galmudug president had planned a large offensive aimed at driving the Sufi group from the town while its leaders offered dialogue to ease tensions, accusing him of ignoring the fight against the militant group Al-Shabaab.
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