At least 11 people have been confirmed dead and about 50 others injured in a clash between forces loyal to Puntland and Galmudug administrations, medical sources have say.
Two hospitals in Galkaiyo town have told Goobjoog News 11 people have been killed among them women and children while 52 others have been admitted in the two hospitals with various injuries.
“We have received 43 people who were injured in the fight, some with bullet wounds,” said a director of a hospital who did not want to be identified for security reasons.
Other sources told Goobjoog News correspondent in the area they had established that 11 people were killed but the number of casualties from both sides of the forces remains unknown.
Officials from Galmudug and Puntland have traded accusations each claiming innocence. Puntland Police Reserve Commandant Abdirashid Hassan Hashi told Goobjoog News his forces were just responding to attacks from Galmudug forces but the situation went out of hand.
“Galmudug soldiers attacked workers who were constructing a road in Garsor area and we had to respond to defend them,” said Hashi.
But Galmudug State Security minister Osman Ise Noor rubbished the claims saying Puntland was encroaching on its land by purporting to build a road. “At about 6 am soldiers from Puntland attacked an area under Galmudug control. These were just attempts to undermine the ongoing operation against Al-Shabaab,” said Noor.
Federal Interior Minister Abdirahman Odowaa has called for immediate ceasefire from both sides and warned of any further attempts at escalating the situation.
Daljir party secretary general Ahmed Moalim Fiqi said what happened in Galkaiyo this morning was unfortunate adding that the town had enjoyed relative peace and developing and that the fighting was going to reverse these gains.
“I am calling for immediate end to this fighting whose only result is to destroy what we have achieved so far. Elders from both sides must take action to intervene and pave way for reconciliation. I am further calling on both sides to avoid politicising the situation,” noted Fiqi.
The head of Somali Clerics Association Sheikh Ahmed Bashir Salat has strongly condemned the fighting warning of the need the address the federalisation issue carefully as it was delicate and could lead to further instability.
“This is what we had warned about earlier. You know what comes out of a town which is separately administered by two administrations. Federalism is not something which Somali people understand since you cannot divide them along geographical boundaries,” said Salat.
Salat called for end to the violence adding that it was not the solution to the dispute.