Killed and wounded in Somalia clash

The death toll is up to at least 40 from a battle between two Islamist groups in central Somalia.

The insurgent group al-Shabab attacked the town of Dhusamareb Saturday, trying to seize it from Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, a group that backs the Somali government.

Al-Shabab claimed control of the town late Saturday, but Ahlu-Sunna says it beat back the assault and inflicted heavy casualties on al-Shabab’s fighters.

This was the first fighting in Dhusamareb since Ahlu-Sunna took control of the town from al-Shabab in December 2008.

The town is in the Galgadud region, north of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.  Witnesses say many residents have fled because they fear more violence.

Al-Shabab is trying to overthrow the Western-backed Somali government and establish an Islamic state.  The group controls large parts of southern and central Somalia after a three-year insurgency.

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