BALADWEYNE, Somalia – At least five people have lost their lives and 12 others wounded after government forces have exchanged heavy gunfire in Baladweyne town, about 335km north of the Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
The skirmish flared up when heavily armed soldiers escorting governor of Hiran Ali Jeyte Osman tried to pass a road closed by senior military official named as Ali Dhere.
Osman’s bodyguards and Ali Dhere’s soldiers exchanged heavy gunfire in Kishin neighborhood in the town following a dispute, local residents said.
They say at least five people, including combatants were killed and 12 others wounded.
Medical officials say some of wounded are in critical conditions.
A senior regional official, who asked to be anonymous, said nearly a dozen of soldiers were arrested with their weapons after the fighting subsided.
He says they were taken into a prison and would face a military court for their action.
Meanwhile, a heavy fighting broke out between al Shabab militants and Kenyan troops under African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
The clash took place on Friday after al Shabab militants armed with RPGs and machine-guns carried out an ambush attack on Kenyan army base in Qoqani area near Afmadow town of Lower Jubba region.
Heavy weaponries could be heard, according to local residents.
Kenyan forces repulsed the attack.
It is unclear how many were killed or wounded in the latest battle.
The attack comes a day after al Shabab militants took control of Bal’ad town, some 30km north of the capital Mogadishu.
Al Shabab, al Qaeda linked group seems to have stepped up its attacks on both AU and Somali army forces’ bases in south and central towns as Somalia geared up holding parliamentary and presidential elections.