, MOGADISHU, Jun 11 – At least 12 people died in heavy fighting between rival militia in central Somalia, elders said Wednesday, the latest surge of violence amid warnings of a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Fighting in the Galgadud region broke out Tuesday, despite local governor Hussein Ali Weheliye calling on “both sides to show restraint to stop the senseless killing going”.
Clashes broke out between rival clans in villages in Galgadud’s Balanbal district, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu and close to the border with Ethiopia, apparently in revenge for earlier killings.
“The number of the dead has reached 12 people from the two clans, more are injured,” local senior elder Elmi Adan told AFP, adding that neither side were ready to negotiate.
Ali Omar, director of local hospital in Guricel said at least 15 people had been admitted with gunshot wounds, three of them later died.
The clashes, which are separate from ongoing battles between African Union troops and Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents in the far south of Somalia, come amid renewed warnings the impoverished country risks sliding back into acute crisis, less than three years since a devastating famine.
The clashes in Galgadud follows separate fierce clan militia battles late last week in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, which prompted warnings from the United Nations and AU.
Tensions remain high in Lower Shabelle, and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed has urged the warring clans to talk.
“This country does not need any more bloodshed, the people who are dying are all brothers and sisters,” he said in a statement. “There is no conflict that cannot be solved through dialogue.”