Somali Islamist foes say port conflict resolved.

Al-Shabaab fighter.jpg2

Halkaan ka akhri

Al-Shabaab fighter.jpg2MOGADISHU — Two Islamist rebel groups in Somalia said Wednesday they have resolved a violent dispute over the control of a key port city in the south of the country.

Militiamen from the Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab group attacked Hezb al-Islam forces in the port town of Kismayo, some 500 kilometres (310 miles) south of Mogadishu early this week and overran the town.

The development laid bare a growing split between the two groups who united against a common ennemy, the UN-backed Somali government and the African peacekeepers protecting it.

“After days of hard talks, the two brotherly groups have reached an accord that resolves the difference that caused the fighting in Kismayo,” Sheik Husein Fidow, a senior Shebab official, told reporters in Mogadishu.

“Under the agreement, both sides will respect an investigative committee that will find the root cause of the disagreement and the matter will be solved under the Islamic Sharia law,” he said.

Sheik Mohamed Moalim Ali, a Hezb al-Islam official in the capital, also confirmed the agreement which is meant to end the clashes which have so far left several dozen combatants from both sides dead.

“The talks have so far been fruitful and we agreed to end the bloodshed between the Islamic groups that share a common idea which is the fight against the enemy of Allah,” he said.

The clashes between the two rebel groups erupted last week after Al-Shebab established an administration under its control in Kismayo, violating a deal under which the two sides rotated power between them.

The Islamist militias wrested control of Kismayo from the government in August 2008, but relations between them have soured in recent weeks owing to disputes over control of the town’s lucrative port.

The two factions had agreed to share power, with each governing for six months alternately, but clan politics seeped in and the rotation failed when the Shebab refused to relinquish the administration.

Source: AFP

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