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Faction denies massing forces

The Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA), which controls the Bay and Bakol regions in southwestern Somalia, has denied local media reports that it is mobilising its forces for a possible attack on neighbouring regions, a senior RRA official told IRIN. The official, Muhammad Ali Adan Qalinle, who is also the governor of Baidoa, 240 km southwest of Mogadishu, said the reports were untrue, and that the RRA was not planning to attack anyone. There have been persistent reports in the Mogadishu-based media that the RRA was planning to attack the Lower and Middle Juba and Lower Shabelle regions in southern Somalia. In a telephone call from Baidoa, the headquarters of the RRA, and the capital of Bay Region, Qalinle said: "We are always mobilising our forces to ensure their readiness. It does not mean we are getting ready to attack anyone." He added, however, that if attacked the RRA would defend itself, and warned supporters of the Transitional National Government "not to try anything that may lead to war". Qalinle also denied reports of a split within the RRA, and said that whatever minor differences existed had been resolved, and that the organisation remained a single entity.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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