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Somali Factions Fight Over Baidoa

October 10, 1997

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) _ The Rahanwein Resistance Army, which supports faction leader Ali Mahdi Mohamed, Friday claimed to have taken control of a southern Somali town from the rival forces of Hussein Aidid.

Radio North Mogadishu, which supports Ali Mahdi, reported that the RRA had taken over Baidoa, 150 miles southwest of Mogadishu.

RRA spokesman Mohamed Ali Aden Qalinle said five of his men and 40 of Aidid’s were killed in the battle that began Thursday.

A spokesman for Aidid denied losing control of Baidoa.

Radio communication with Baidoa were severed, and it was impossible to verify the competing claims.

Somalia has had no central government since the ouster of late dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, when the county disintegrated among warring factions.

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