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NISA officers clash with SNA troops in central Somalia

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

DHUSAMAREB, Somalia - Police officers attached to the elite National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] clashed with troops from Somali National Army [SNA] on Wednesday at Dhusamareb, officials said, in yet another incident which exposed the strained relationship between government forces.

An eyewitness said the two sides started firing indiscriminately against each other, but the immediate reason to their latest standoff could not be established. The elite Harimacad of SNA was involved in the standoff.

According to officials, seven people were badly wounded during the brief gunfight in the regional administrative capital of Galmadug, which has played host to unending clashes between the military and regional militia, which dates back to February during the presidential polls.

Both parties suffered injuries and they have since been admitted to hospitals within the capital. It's not clear if any civilian was caught in the gunfight, but massive damage of properties was reported according to an eyewitness.

But investigations by Garowe Online established that the two parties had disagreed on manning of a security checkpoint in the town which had been under the Harimacad, leading to the unprecedented clashes between the two teams.

The NISA team, sources said, started fleshing out the troops from the checkpoint, leading to the fierce gunfight. The intelligence team wanted to seize control of the checkpoint, which the government uses for the enhancement of security and collection of taxes.

Haramacad squad was deployed in Dhusamareb in February during the presidential polls, which saw Ahmed Kariye alias QoorQoor announced the winner. Four main candidates had withdrawn from the race citing interference by Mogadishu.

Later, the Harimacad troops engaged in a fierce gunfight with local militia ASWJ, which led to the death of close to 20 people. A smooth transition has since ensued in the region, following a consensus between QoorQoor and former leader Ahmed Duale.

Fighting between security forces is common in Somalia due to deep clan influence. Troops from rival clans always exchange fire over control of some regions which are mainly associated with resources such as oil and minerals.

In April, SNA troops opened fire at the Somalia Police near the Halane Base Camp after a projectile hit the base. Government officials downplayed claims of rivalry, adding that the matter had been solved after some "little misunderstanding".

NISA has been drawn to various security and political-related controversy a move that saw the Forum for National Parties [FNP] calling for the resignation of Fahad Yasin, the former Al-Jazeera journalist, who is accused of using the government agency to defend the administration of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Next year, the Somali troops are expected to assume security assignments after the exit of African Union Mission troops. Friction within government troops has often given Al-Shabaab an opportunity to seize control of government-held regions.


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