Fighting between central Somalia clans kills at least 55, residents say


MOGADISHU, Somalia - A violent clash over the weekend between two clans in central Somalia has killed at least 55 people and injured another 155, residents and medical officials said on Monday.

Somalia's federal government is not only struggling to contain violence unleashed by the Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group but is also facing clan-based clashes over control of land and water in the Horn of Africa nation.

The clash between the Dir and Marihan clans, who fought alongside each other in the paramilitary group that ousted al Shabaab from the Galmudug region, erupted on Saturday in Abudwaq and Herale towns over grazing land and watering points, said Farah Nur, a clan elder and resident of Herale.

"Government forces came late. Unfortunately, 55 people died, this includes both clans," he told Reuters.

"It was easy to stop (the fight) but it didn't happen. The situation got out of hand and spread like wildfire."

Personnel from hospitals in Herale, Abudwaq, and two other adjacent towns confirmed to Reuters they had attended to 115 people who were wounded in the fighting. Those who died were buried immediately, residents said.

"We believe al Shabaab is indirectly behind this strange war," said Ahmed Shire Falagle, a security adviser to the president of Galmudug state. "These are two brotherly clans that jointly used to defeat al Shabaab."

The fighting subsided following the arrival of federal government soldiers, residents said and Falagle said.

"There is (a) ceasefire but the mood is not good. A permanent ceasefire is needed," Sadia Hussein, a mother of four, told Reuters from Abudwaq.

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