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Senior insurgent commander defects to Somali government

A HIGH ranking insurgent official, with nearly two hundred heavily-armed fighters and almost twelve battle wagons defected to the embattled Somali government, sources close to his faction said today.

Sheikh Yusuf Mohamed Siyad Indha Adde was the defense chief of the broken-up opposition group, the alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS), and part of the opposition factions fighting the Somali government.

"Our forces and leader joined the Somali government because we believe since it accepted to introduce the sharia (Islamic law) itis an Islamic government that all Muslims should stand to defend, "a senior member of Indha Adde's faction, who sought anonymity, told Xinhua.

Indha Adde who is believed to command substantial militia force, has opposed new Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed following his election late last year.

However, Indha Adde recently met with the president and during last week's deadly fighting said he was not part of "the war between two Muslims", stating that he has put his "weapons and fighters in the care of a brother".

His statements came following reports that he was disarmed by Al-Shabaab, a radical Islamist movement opposed to the Somali government, after his meeting with President Ahmed.

Analysts in Mogadishu say the defection of Indha Adde might revive the fortunes of the government which faced a major setback after it lost a number of key positions in Mogadishu to the opposition fighters in the latest confrontations.

Mogadishu has been tensely quite since last Friday after a week-long deadly clashes between the government forces and allied insurgent fighters which left more than 100 people dead, and almost 400 others wounded while nearly 30,000 others left their homes.

Insurgent fighters and government soldiers are stationed in close proximity and see eyeball to eyeball while reports say both sides are trying to get reinforcement and rearming for a possible show down which could erupt any time.

Somalia, a country of nine million, has been without a strong central government since the overthrow of the late Somali president Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991.


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