MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Hundreds of Islamic insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine-guns briefly seized control of a central Somali town after government soldiers abandoned their post, residents said Thursday. It is the seventh town they have taken in recent months although the fighters usually melt away after a few hours.
"The government soldiers left as soon as they heard Islamists are on their way," said Mohamed Elmi Nor, a resident of Jalalaqsi town, 100 miles north of the capital.
The fighters entered the town in 10 pickups on Wednesday night, some covering their faces with red turbans, he said by telephone. They seized a police truck and left without shooting anyone.
Elsewhere, two body guards of a government official were killed and eight others wounded when Islamists attacked Abdifatah Mohamed Gesey, the governor of Bay region in southwestern Somalia. Gesey was on an official visit in Qansah Dhere town, some 205 miles from the capital,when the attack occurred.
Gesey said, "Islamists … wanted to kill me but my guard gallantly succeeded in repelling them."