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Heavy fighting at Baidoa airport

Heavy fighting broke out at Baidoa airport on Saturday, and resumed again on Monday, humanitarian sources told IRIN.

On Saturday, militiamen of the governing Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA) opened fire on militiamen guarding a khat flight, unhappy with their allocation of the narcotic plant.

The khat dealer himself returned to the airport on Monday, after a UN flight had landed, and his considerable militia force seized the airport from the RRA, with very heavy shooting ensuing.

UN personnel were forced to run for cover, and one associated UN staffer was shot in the knee.

The khat dealer warned that any plane attempting to land at Baidoa would be shot down.

The sources pointed out that his weaponry includes a 23 mm anti-aircraft weapon.

Later in the day however, the RRA reportedly regained control of the airport after a UN officer made contact with their leadership to complain about the incident.



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