UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
SOMALIA: Twenty killed, thousands displaced in renewed fighting
NAIROBI, 12 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - At least 20 people have been reported killed and 40 wounded in renewed interclan fighting in Galinsoor town in the Galgadud region of central Somalia.
Sources said the clashes had displaced the entire population of the town, or about 10,000 people.
Fighting that began on Wednesday pitted militiamen from two sub-clans of the main Hawiye clan, the Saad and Seleeban, against one another. Each side blamed the other for starting the fighting.
"No one seems to know why or how it started," said Dahir Aflow, a resident of Galkayo town, 70 km north of Galinsoor.
The two groups have fought over grazing land and water points sporadically since 2004. There have been numerous failed attempts to halt the hostilities.
Elders involved in mediation talks between the sides were surprised by the latest fighting. One of them, Ali Hashi Mohamed, said the talks "were at an advanced stage and were going very well".
"We are completely perplexed by the timing of this. I don't know what to say, except it is very unfortunate," he said. "We will continue with our efforts and try to salvage what we can."
Aflow said that both sides admitted that the number of casualties could be much higher, "given the fact most will be buried where they died". Women and children were also killed in the fighting.
The clashes had subsided by early evening on Wednesday but flared up again at about noon on Thursday, with both sides using heavy weapons, "including anti-aircraft guns and tanks," Aflow said.
"Previously when clans fought, they used spears or guns, but now both sides are using technicals [battlewagons fitted with heavy machine guns]," he said.
The council of ministers of the Transitional Federal Government expressed its regret at the renewed conflict during a meeting on Thursday and called on both sides to "resolve their differences through dialogue," said Abdirahman Dinari, the government's spokesman.
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