Pro-government militiamen in southern Somalia have seized a second town from rebels as President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's fragile administration seeks to crush the insurgents, witnesses said Aug. 19. Western security agencies say Somalia, which has been torn by civil war for the past 18 years, has become a haven for militants plotting attacks in the Horn of Africa and beyond. The international community is trying to bolster Ahmed's UN-backed government, which until this week only controlled small pockets of the coastal capital Mogadishu. (Reuters)

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