MOGADISHU – At least 35 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in a week of clashes in villages near Somalia’s border with Ethiopia.
Officials and traditional elders say the clashes involved Somali clan militia and members of the Liyu police, an Ethiopian paramilitary unit operating in Ethiopia’s ethnic Somali region.
“The Liyu Police Unit launched an attack on innocent civilians. They are attacking villagers and killing people who keep livestock,” said Hussein Weheliye Irfo, the governor of the Galgadud region in central Somalia.
He said the Somali government was aware of the clashes and also called for the intervention of Ethiopia’s government and the African Union force in Somalia, AMISOM.
Sources in the region said fighting started a week ago and escalated on Friday.
“It is effecting a vast area and the casualties are very high, 35 dead bodies have been counted so far,” said Mohamed Garane, a traditional elder in Guricel district where the wounded are hospitalised.
It was not apparently clear what sparked the clashes, which are separate from ongoing battles between African Union troops and al-Qaida-linked Shebab insurgents in the far south of the country.