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In Somalia forces loyal to the transitional government and their Ethiopian coaches met the militia of Islamic Courts near Baidoa. The first round ended with a 1-0 win of the transitional government. The jury of United Nations officials confirmed the result.
The New York Times
By Jeffrey Gettleman
Published: December 22, 2006
Thumbs up for the transitional government.
. . .
. . . The fighting started early Wednesday as hundreds of Islamist fighters attacked the transitional government’s forces from two sides.
Witnesses said the transitional government, with help from Ethiopia, had repelled the Islamist advance in Daynunay, a town outside the government’s base in Baidoa. But in Diinsoor, near Baidoa, the battles were closely contested, and on Thursday, witnesses said each side continued to pound away with artillery, mortars and antiaircraft guns on pickup trucks.
. . .
“We have overrun their troops,” said Abdirizak Adam Hassan, chief of staff for the transitional president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.
United Nations officials confirmed heavy Islamist casualties in the fighting, which began Wednesday and continued Thursday.
The Islamist fighters — many of them lightly armed teenage boys, the officials said — were mowed down by transitional government soldiers backed by the Ethiopian Army, the most powerful military in the region.
“The Islamists attacked, they retreated and then they made the mistake of running into an open field,” a United Nations official said on the condition of anonymity. “After that, it was one shot, one kill.”
United Nations officials estimated that dozens of Islamists had died. . .
After initially playing down the fighting, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of the Islamist forces, announced Thursday over national radio that Somalia was at war and said, “All Somalis should take part in this struggle against Ethiopia.”
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