Who is General Huud? The militia leader fighting in Beledweyne

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Fighting broke out in Beledweyne last night between government forces and militias led by General Abukar Huud.

Residents in Beledweyne told the BBC that one person was wounded in the fighting although the exact number of casualties is not yet known, but General Hud said there were casualties on their side.

General Hud said the fighting erupted after dozens of ministers who arrived in Beledweyne wanted to hold a meeting in the district, saying that they should “know they would not enter Beledweyne”.

He noted however that they were aware in advance that Hirshabelle’s vice president and other members were already in the district of Beledweyne.

“They couldn’t enter and exit out of the city. They were in an open prison for us. They lacked any movement,” he said.

General Huud said two soldiers were wounded in the fighting.

There was no word from the regional authority in Hirshabelle. 

So who is General Hud?

Little was known about the general, before he announced his leadership of a militia group which wants Hiiraan region free from Hirshabelle Administration. He rose to prominence last year when he said he was leading an uprising against the new Hirshabelle government.

He was a former general in the Somali military during the government of Mohamed Siad Barre and took part in the war between Somalia and Ethiopia in the 1970s.

According to him, in his military career, he had been the commander of the 13th Brigade in Jigjiga, the commander of the 22nd Battalion in Gibeley, the commander of the Mandera school, and the commander of the 5th Gas in Las Anod.

After the collapse it is reported that he had spent much of his time abroad.

He is said to also have served as a security adviser to Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s transitional government.

General Huud is noted for once stating that he did not recognize the Hirshabelle administration led by Ali Gudlawe, seeing it as a disgrace to his clan in the Hiraan region. He is now leading an organized armed force on the outskirts of Beledweyne. He also sees himself as a fighter for the rights of the people of Hiraan.

Ministers arrive in Beledweyne

Over the past two days, members of the Hirshabelle cabinet and members of the Hirshabelle parliament have visited the town and were welcome by Vice-President Ahmed Yusuf Dabageed.

HirShabelle’s cabinet was scheduled to hold its first meeting in Beledweyne today, which had triggered the anger of the militia led by General Hud.

The dispute stems from the formation of the Hirshabelle administration and with Hiiraan community saying they are dissatisfied with the distribution of power.

Efforts are underway to resolve the dispute, and federal government officials, including the interior minister, have already arrived in Beledweyne to listen to the concerns of the public and various parties and to finally end the crisis that has gripped the region for over a year.

Read More: Fighting erupts in Beledweyne, Hiiraan between Gov forces and militia

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