04/06/08 (B450-B) Shabelle Network – Les islamistes s’emparent d’une base militaire à 45 km au sud-ouest de Baïdoa, à proximité du siège du porte-parole du Gouvernement / Somalia – Islamists seize military base close to the government’s seat-spokesman (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

The Islamic courts union has claimed that their fighters have captured Manas military campsite that situated 45km southwestern Baidoa town the temporary base of the transitional government

The military operations spokesman of the UIC sheikh Abdirahim Isse Addow who contacted to Shabelle radio has declared that armed fighters from the UIC have driven out the government troops from Manas military base.

“Glory to God in the highest our fighters have seized the (Manas) military base from the “Puppets” they barefooted fled on the way to Baidoa” Addow said” we entirely made them killed, injured, fled”

As Shabelle made contact with the government commanders at Manas no comments could be reached from them for the reason that their phones were off the air.

Reports from Baidoa town the seat of Somali parliament say that the government troops have suddenly started an armed maneuver that might be wanted to recapture Manas from the islamists.

The town has many times experienced an advancement from the islamists On December 20 2007, heavy shooting broke out between Somali government troops and Islamists 25 km (15 miles) southeast of Baidoa where the Islamists claimed to have taken the government’s military base in Daynunay. The conflict thereafter moved north to the Islamist stronghold in Mode Mode] Heavy weapons, including artillery, rockets and mortars were involved.

After the heavy fighting, an EU peace-brokering commission led by Louis Michel landed at Baidoa and then Mogadishu to meet respectively with the TFG and ICU representatives Discussions yielded the agreement to meet in Khartoum, Sudan at an unspecified future date.

After Khartoum meeting has failed to concur the talks the two sides have suddenly started one of the heaviest battles that caused that Ethiopian allied Somali government to capture Somali capital and other parts of the islamists strongholds.

ICU forces abandoned their positions in Burhakaba and Dinsor after days of heavy fighting, leaving behind a number of heavy weapons and other military equipment.

Witnesses reported that ICU fighters were retreating from the Battle of Baidoa on numerous fronts and returning to Mogadishu in convoys.

Islamic councilman Mohamoud Ibrahim Suley confirmed the withdrawal. Troops were also reported to have withdrawn to Daynunay. Ethiopian troops arrived in Burhakaba after the Islamists vacated it. An Ethiopian government spokesman also confirmed that Ethiopian troops also arrived in Dinsor unopposed. Despite this,Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, announced Ethiopia would likely withdraw its troops within a few weeks. He said their main goal was to damage the ICU’s military capabilities, sense of invincibility and ensure a more balanced setting for peace talks.

The United States also announced it would support Ethiopian military operations, saying the country has "genuine security concerns," although it was unclear in what capacity the US would support the nation.

The United Nations envoy to Somalia has urged an end to the fighting, and Qatar, the current President of the UN Security Council, has proposed a draft statement calling for an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of all international forces. Other nations, such as the US, Britain, France, and Russia, have objected to the statement, saying peace talks and agreement are necessary before troops can withdraw.

The islamists are still waging deadly guerilla battles against Ethiopian backed TFG troops but analysts say at the present time the islamists control 85% of Somalia.