Scores Perish Amid Fierce Somali Clan Warfare

Witnesses, keeping their identities under wraps due to fears of reprisal, recounted that around 400 militiamen clashed violently, armed with anti-tank weaponry and hefty machine guns mounted on trucks.

“The cause of the high body count was due to the skirmish taking place on exposed terrain and the militia being heavily equipped,” shared Muhidin Aden Wali, a commissioner and resident of Abudwaq.

Though not dismissing the high toll, the commissioner’s office couldn’t pinpoint exact numbers.

Reacting to the chaos, the Somali government announced on Sunday the formation of a task force aimed at resolving tribal feuds promptly.

The Somali National News Agency (SONNA) reported that this task force comprises five ministers, handpicked by the president of Galmudug State, Ahmed Abdi.

“This committee’s mission is to reach the conflict zones in Abu Dawaq and Harali to halt the ongoing bloodshed,” SONNA noted.

On Monday, witnesses observed units of the Somali army deploying to the area to stave off further confrontations.

Historically, disputes over grazing land and water sources have spurred the clans into conflict.

Retaliatory Slayings

Locals and tribal elders corroborate that vendettas and tussles over territory have been igniting inter-clan strife in Somalia for ages, with intense battles taking root in Galgudud and Mudug.

“It is lamentable to see close-knit nomadic communities clashing, typically over land, water, and age-old vendettas,” shared Abdullahi Sa’id Farah, a clan elder based in Abudwaq, with VOA.

“The casualties are mostly our sons and husbands on both sides. This persistent conflict brings deep grief to Somali mothers,” expressed Irado Mohamed Igal, an activist in the region.

Regional officials pointed fingers at the militant group al-Shabab for sparking the recent clan skirmishes.

“Al-Shabab continues to manipulate Somali clans to cause internal discord, diverting attention from the broader battle against them,” explained Ahmed Shire Falagle, a security adviser to the Galmudug state’s president, during a call with VOA Somali.

VOA couldn’t independently substantiate al-Shabab’s involvement in the weekend’s clan violence.

The clash compounds the security concerns of Somalia’s federal government, already grappling with the menace posed by these extremists.

On Saturday, al-Shabab militants launched an assault on government forces in the central town of El-Dheer.

Al-Shabab proclaimed via Telegram that their forces had overrun two government military bases—a claim refuted by Somali authorities.

Witnesses and locals informed VOA that at least 16 people perished in the assault, countered by government troops supported by local clan militias.

VOA’s Abdiwahid Isaq contributed to this report from Galkayo in central Somalia.

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