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Somali Govt. Declares Offensive on al-Qaeda Group Updated: 2010-07-02 00:00:00 KST

Marking the 50th anniversary of its independence, the Somali government, backed by the African Union peacekeeping forces, has declared an all-out combat against an al-Qaeda militant group that has taken control over much of the eastern African country.
President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed is reportedly leading the government's first military strike on the al-Shabaab insurgents who have enforced the extreme versions of the Islamic Sharia law in southern and central Somalia, expanding their reach into the capital Mogadishu.
More than a dozen people have been reported dead and dozens wounded in Mogadishu, as coalition forces used automatic weapons, grenades and missiles in the district of Karan, an al-Shabaab stronghold.
The rebel group's expansion into the Somali capital was the final straw for the government to carry out a counter-aggression, when such a move obstructed state affairs and deprived public access to administrative services.
During the past two decades, chaos has been looming over Somalia where no stable federal bureaucracy existed since President Siad Barre was ousted by insurgents in 1991.
The 18-month-old interim government headed by Ahmed has been administering the country in Djibouti in absentia.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.
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