Fighting breaks out over redevelopment plans in Somalia

Fighting breaks out over redevelopment plans in Somalia
2 min read
15 October, 2016
Fighting has broken out between rival factions in central Somalia over construction by one group in Gaalkacyo town.
Fighting in the region has forced many refugees to flee to war-torn Yemen [Anadolu]
At least 11 people died and dozens injured after intense fighting broke out between rival regional governments in central Somalia.

The local armed conflict has continued since fighting first broke out on 7 October in the central region of Gaalkacyo, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and involved rival militias from the regions of Puntland and Galmudug.

The fighting is said to over construction plans in a contested part of Galkayo town, Reuters reported.

"Puntland wants to build in parts of our south Galkayo by force and that is an aggression we will not accept," Hirsi Yusuf Barre, the mayor of Galkayo South told Reuters.

"Puntland tanks started shelling us yesterday and we had to respond."

Major Mohamed Ibrahim, a military officer in Puntland said that Galmudug had started the fighting, saying, "We shall defend ourselves".

Civilians fled the southern part of town, however, the precise number of refugees cannot be verified because of the "fluid and volatile" nature of the conflict.

"Intermittent fighting continues and humanitarian partners in Gaalkacyo estimate that over 50,000 people have been displaced as of 13 October 2016," OCHA said in a statement.

Fighting between the rival states has amplified in recent months. In September, the US killed 22 people in air-strikes against Galmudug, allegedly following bad intelligence from Puntland state.

US Africa Command claimed they believed to be targetting an al-Shabaab bomb-making factory.

Clashes of this kind between rival factions and militias are common in Somalia, as a 25-year-long civil war has crippled central security.