Sufi clerics seize town in central Somalia

The moderate Islamist militia group, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a, has taken control of a key government-held town in central Galmudug state.

The Sufi group engaged in fighting with the Galmudug state forces before seizing Guri’el, according to the local website Goobjoog News.

More than 10 people were reportedly killed.

Over the past few weeks the Sufi group has been mobilising fighters with the aim of retaking major towns under the Galmudug administration’s control.

The Sufi clerics reportedly received backing from local clans in central Somalia.

Authorities have not yet commented about the clashes and seizure of the town.

Once allied to the government, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a was forced out of the central Somali regions in February 2020, when they clashed with state forces.

The Sufi group had played a key role in the fight against al-Shabab when they controlled much of central Somalia.

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