Rival groups clashed on Sunday in the town of Galkoyo, located on the border between Puntland and Galmudug in northeast Somalia. The town is currently administered by the rival governments of Galmudug and Puntland, causing tension in the area.
Over 20 people were killed and around 80 injured, according to news agencies.
“Today’s clashes were the deadliest ones in a single day here in Galkoyo,” medical officer Abdiqani Mohamed told reporters.”
Galkoyo South mayor Hirsi Yusuf Barre, who represents militias loyal to Galmudug said, “We lost seven soldiers and 20 others were wounded. We also lost a car. We repulsed them and now Galkoyo is calm,” he said.
A military officer from Puntland, Mohamed Aden, on the other hand, insisted that “Galmudug does not want peace.” “We shall continue fighting till we cleanse Galmudug forces,” he added.
His side lost 12 soldiers and another 20 were injured.
Galmudug and Puntland are both fighting to control Galkoyo. Schools in the town were forced to shut after fighting began nearly a month ago. Two weeks back, ten people were killed in clashes after Galmudug accused Puntland of trying to open a livestock market in its part of the town.
Last week, however, the rival governments struck a ceasefire deal mediated by Saudi Arabia and promised to remove their soldiers from the disputed area.
Somalia, situated on the Horn of Africa, has been gripped by conflict since the death of Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in the early 1990s. The presence of Islamist group al-Shabab has exacerbated the unrest.
The country began electing a new parliament on Saturday. Leaders decided against the “one-person-one-vote” policy citing weak infrastructure and terror attacks by al-Shabab. In the new process, traditional leaders would choose representatives for electoral colleges, which would decide on new parliament members. The polling is expected to last until November 10.
Source: mg/rc (Reuters, dpa).
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