Deadly Inter-clan fighting kills dozens in Somalia

Puntland
By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

GALKACYO, Somalia - At least 23 people were killed and many others injured when rival clan militias clashed in central Somalia, residents and community elders said on Tuesday, Garowe Online reports.

The militiamen from the Somali Federal States of Puntland and Galmudug started fighting over grazing land dispute and clan vendetta last Sunday in Af-Barwaqo and Towfiq villages, east of the conflict-riddled region.

This is one of the worst such confrontations seen in the province, claiming the lives of dozens of people within two days while forcing hundreds of families to flee their houses due to the escalation of the fighting.

Local residents said the tribal battle in the region was still ongoing, with the use of heavy weaponry.

"So far we know that at least 23 people died in the hostilities between the clans and more than that number were injured," Mohamed Ali Elmi, an elder in the Towfiq area, told Garowe Online by phone.

Multiple sources said the situation is still too tense and there might be further clashes as war preparations are underway in nearby villages amid efforts initiated by traditional elders of region to cease the bloodshed.

“The fighting was sparked by long-standing hostilities over land ownership and pasture and resulted in the deaths of 23 people in the past days,” said Elmi, adding that the warring sides are receiving reinforcements.

Mohamed Abdirahman Dhabanad, Puntland’s minister of the interior has accused Galmudug of state forces of attacking the Towfiq district under his administration, calling the move to reignite clan conflict “unfortunate”.

Galmudug authorities could not immediately be reached for comment on the serious allegations.

"This fighting has repeated several times and it is over long-standing vendetta between the two sub-clans. We are sorry that it has resulted in deaths,” Ahmed Omar, an official in the state said.

The Somali government and Puntland state on Monday called for an immediate end to the fighting that has resulted in the loss of innocent lives, urging both sides to pursue dialogue to resolve their disputes.

The skirmish comes as the country is suffering from severe floods and the cyclone Pawan that continues to push the international aid-dependent nation closer to another humanitarian crisis and a full-blown famine.

GAROWE ONLINE