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by bashir farayare) Heavy fighting has taken place between rival factions of Somalia’s militant Islamist group al-Shabab near the key coastal town of Brava, witnesses say. Six militants, including two foreigners, were killed in the gun-battle at dawn, they told the BBC. Al-Shabab denied there had been any fighting within its ranks. If confirmed, these would be the first clashes between rival factions of the al-Qaeda linked group since it launched an insurgency in 2006. On Wednesday, at least 15 people were killed in an attack by al-Shabab on the UN offices in the capital, Mogadishu. Its fighters detonated a car bomb, before engaging in a fierce battle with security guards in the UN compound. Residents say Brava is tense following the gun-battle between rival factions on the outskirts of the town, some 220km (140 miles) down the coast from Mogadishu. Al-Shabab has turned Brava into one of its main bases after losing control of many other towns and cities to African Union (AU) and government troops. The exact cause of the clashes is not known, but there has been a long-running power struggle within al-Shabab involving its leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and ex-spokesman Muktar Ali Robow, analysts say. Mr Robow is said to be more moderate than Mr Godane, and opposes links with al-Qaeda, they say. However, al-Shabab spokesman Ali Dheere dismissed reports of the fighting in Brava as “propaganda” and “lies”. The group was united, he added. Al-Shabab, which means “The Youth”, is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia. It was formed in 2006 as a radical offshoot of the now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which at the time controlled Mogadishu and many southern and central areas. Some 18,000 African Union troops are in Somalia supporting the government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who was elected by MPs last September. His administration is the first one in more than two decades to be recognised by the US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Heavy fighting has taken place between
rival factions of Somalia’s militant Islamist
group al-Shabab near the key coastal
town of Brava, witnesses say.
Six militants, including two foreigners, were
killed in the gun-battle at dawn, they told the
BBC.
Al-Shabab denied there had been any fighting
within its ranks.
If confirmed, these would be the first clashes
between rival factions of the al-Qaeda linked
group since it launched an insurgency in 2006.
On Wednesday, at least 15 people were killed in
an attack by al-Shabab on the UN offices in the
capital, Mogadishu.
Its fighters detonated a car bomb, before
engaging in a fierce battle with security guards
in the UN compound.
Residents say Brava
is tense following the
gun-battle between
rival factions on the
outskirts of the town,
some 220km (140
miles) down the
coast from
Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab has turned
Brava into one of its
main bases after
losing control of
many other towns
and cities to African
Union (AU) and government troops.
The exact cause of the clashes is not known,
but there has been a long-running power
struggle within al-Shabab involving its leader
Ahmed Abdi Godane and ex-spokesman Muktar
Ali Robow, analysts say.
Mr Robow is said to be more moderate than Mr
Godane, and opposes links with al-Qaeda, they
say.
However, al-Shabab spokesman Ali Dheere
dismissed reports of the fighting in Brava as
“propaganda” and “lies”.
The group was united, he added.
Al-Shabab, which means “The Youth”, is fighting
to create an Islamic state in Somalia.
It was formed in 2006 as a radical offshoot of the
now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which at
the time controlled Mogadishu and many
southern and central areas.
Some 18,000 African Union troops are in Somalia
supporting the government of President Hassan
Sheikh Mohamud who was elected by MPs last
September.
His administration is the first one in more than
two decades to be recognised by the US and
the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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