Ett svenskt pass har upphittats i samband med en attack i Somalias fria delstat Puntland mot islamister tillhörande antingen Al Qaida eller Islamiska Domstolarnas Förbund.
Tidigt på lördagsmorgonen öppnade en amerikansk jagare eld med en kanon mot en by i nordöstra Somalia, enligt en Somalias vice president Hassan Dahir Mohamoud som AP har talat med.DN:
I attacken ska åtta utländska militanta islamister ha dött.
En av dessa åtta islamister ska ha varit svensk. Somaliska säkerhetsstyrkor uppger att de hittade ett svenskt pass på mannen.
- USA-militären siktade in sig på al-Qaida-gömstället, säger Mussa Jelle Yusuf, guvernör i regionen Barri, till AFP.
UD försöker nu få uppgifterna bekräftade men eftersom Sverige inte har någon ambassad i Somalia måste alla kontakter gå genom ambassaden i Nairobi.AP:
Puntland Vice President Hassan Dahir Mohamoud said eight foreign militants were killed in the fighting and Somali forces were pursuing five others. He told The Associated Press there were no civilian casualties because the area is uninhabited.Reuters:
Mohamoud said the Puntland government had requested the U.S. navy to help fight the militants.
He said that the government knew the nationalities of five of the foreign militants: the U.S., Britain, Sweden, Eritrea, and Yemen. He said security forces identified them from their passports.
"We have successfully completed the operation against the terrorists who came here and we are chasing the other five," said Mohamoud, speaking from Puntland's capital, Garowe. He said the total number of militants was 13; government officials earlier reported as many as 35.
Muse Gelle, a regional governor, said the militants arrived in the area near the port town of Bargal by speedboat on Wednesday. He said a U.S. destroyer attacked late Friday.
Musa Ismail Mohamed, a former government economist who lives in Puntland, compared the area where the fighting took place to Afghanistan's Tora Bora, which U.S. forces beseiged in 2001 in a failed effort to flush out Osama bin Laden.
"Americans should strike it harder than yesterday and then they will succeed. If they do not do that, then may be Bargal may become a stronghold for terrorists," Mohamed said Saturday, speaking on the phone from Puntland's main port, Bossaso.
A task force of coalition ships, called CTF-150, is permanently based in the northern Indian Ocean and patrols the Somali coast in hopes of intercepting international terrorists. U.S. destroyers are normally assigned to the task force and patrol in pairs.
Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, could not confirm U.S. involvement in Friday's fighting, but added: "The very nature of some of our operations, as well as the success of those operations is often predicated on our ability to work quietly with our partners and allies."
Puntland's minister of information, Mohamed Abdulrahman Banga, told the AP that the extremists arrived heavily armed in two fishing boats from southern Somalia, which they controlled for six months last year before being routed by Ethiopian troops.
"They had their own small boats and guns," he said.
"Missiles fired from a ship hit the mountains where the Islamic fighters and foreigners are hiding," one resident, who asked not to be named, told Reuters by radio phone on Saturday. "A plane was circling and guiding the ship where to hit."Shabelle 31/5:
He said Puntland forces were also pursuing the group, which one senior local official said were remnants of an Islamic Courts movement that ruled much of southern Somalia last year.
Local media said Puntland troops on trucks fitted with heavy guns raced to the area after the air strikes. The forces also blocked roads and refused to let journalists reach the scene.
Another Barga resident said at least two uniformed U.S. military officers had arrived in the port late on Friday.
"They were driven by Puntland troops and were carrying telecommunications equipment," he said. "It looks like Puntland gave the Americans permission to fire at the wanted Islamists."
Musse Gelle, the governor of Bari province, told Shabelle by the phone today, that Islamic insurgents from southern Somalia arrived in the settlement.Shabelle 2/6:
"We have been tipped that they were heavily armed and were aboard two speed boats, so our forces were deployed in the area to confront the Islamists," he said.
The president of the regional administration, Adde Musse, stopped short to comment on the situation after he was asked about the Islamists presence in the Puntland.
The Union of Islamic fighters were routed by the Ethiopian forces backing the tenuous interim government late last year after have gun battles in which hundreds perished and forced of thousands Somali civilians to flee.
Gelle said at least 35 Islamic radicals, most of them foreigners, arrived in the tiny coastal settlement and clashed with a small number of Puntland troops satationed in the area.
"They are the foreign Islamic extremists that have been beaten in Raskomboni near the Kenaya border and now they came here in Puntland to agitate locals, but we will get rid of them," he told Shabelle.
U.S. officials have long suspected that some of those responsible for the embassy attacks have been hiding in the war-torn East African country. (Map)Shabelle 2/6:
The nearly simultaneous bombings on August 7, 1998, killed 213 people in Nairobi, Kenya, and 11 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Among the dead in Nairobi were 12 Americans.
Meanwhile several government officials have been slain in the past days by what the interim government called the remnants of the Islamic Courts.StrategyPage:
Hassan Farey, Hawlwadag district commissioner, was killed on Friday. Witnesses told Shabelle that three men armed with two pistols and one AK 47 rifle gunned down the victim while getting out of a mosque in the neighborhood.
Also the head of the security forces in the port town of Kismayu was shot dead by unknown gunman last night, according to officials in the port city, which is 500 kilometers south of the capital Mogadishu.
In Puntland, two boatloads of Islamic terrorists, most of them non-Somali, landed near a small village a few days ago. When security forces confronted them today, there was gunfire, and about 30 Islamic terrorists fled into the bush. An American destroyer arrived shortly thereafter, and bombarded the suspected location of the terrorists, with its 127mm gun. The two boats were believed to have come from a jungle area near the Kenyan border, where many Islamic terrorists had fled to in April, after being chased out of Mogadishu. Apparently, there are some U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations) troops in the area, because someone has to call in the naval gun fire.