MOGADISHU, 25 January 2021 – At least 11 people have been killed and 14 others injured in serious fighting that broke out in a Somali town near the border with neighboring Kenya.
The fighting broke out Sunday evening in the town of Baled-Hawo situated in the southwestern Somali region of Gedo.
Fighting was still ongoing Monday morning in the town, according to eyewitnesses.
Somalia’s information ministry on Monday accused Kenya of supporting “rebels” to attack Somali federal troops.
The vice president of the semi-autonomous state of Jubbaland, Mohamud Sayid, told the BBC that the attack was launched by federal forces against regional fores stationed outside the town.
Kenya has denied any involvement.
Relations between the two countries have been strained since Kenya announced plans to open a consulate in the breakaway self-proclaimed independent state of Somaliland.
Last month, Somalia kicked out Kenyan diplomats from Mogadishu, blaming them for “blatant interference” in the internal affairs of Somalia.
In the meantime, forces of Jubbaland forces and troops of the Somali federal government on Monday both claimed victory in the fighting, as some residents started fleeing the town.
The semi-autonomous administration of Jubbaland and the federal government based in Mogadishu have been disputing control over the organization of upcoming elctions in Somalia.
The Djibouti-based inter-government organization of theHorn of Africa bloc known as IGAD (Inter-Governmental Agency for Development) sent a fact-finding mission to both Kenya and Somalia earlier this month, but their report is yet to be published.