US-backed military forces terrorize Somalians in the southern port city of Kismayo. Resistance to the occupation has continued since Kenyan Defense Forces entered the town., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
At least 11 dead in Somalia clashes
February 24, 2013 4:33AM
AT least 11 people have been killed in clashes between rival pro-government clan-based militias in the southern Somalia port of Kismayo, witnesses say.
"I saw at least 11 people, especially fighters, killed in these battles," a Kismayo elder, Mohamed Ga'al, told AFP on Saturday.
"It's the worst fighting since the Shebab left the city, and even if the situation is calm now, the two sides continue to regroup," Ga'al added by telephone from capital Mogadishu.
Another witness, Ali Moalim Suleman, said three of the people killed were civilians caught in the exchange of fire, adding that six other civilians were wounded and taken to hospital.
In a statement on Saturday, Somali Prime Minister Abdi Said Shirdon called on the two clans to lay down their arms.
"We are shocked to learn that two fraternal clans are fighting and spilling innocent blood, while residents await the establishment of a regional government."
Several clans have fought for control of Kismayo since September, when a Kenyan army contingent drove the Shebab out of its main stronghold.
Witnesses said the Kenyan soldiers still stationed in Kismayo did not intervene to end to the clashes.
Prior fighting between the militias had resulted in several deaths in December in Kismayo, which as Somalia's second largest port is vital to the country's economy.
Ga'al said the clashes erupted between the Ogaden and Marehan clans after the head of one of the groups died at a police station, prompting his clan to storm the station.