At least 10 people have been killed in clashes on Tuesday morning between Somali government forces and members of the Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a for control of Guri’el town in Central Somalia, amid of disagreement on the formation of a new state in the region.
The fighting erupted when Ahlu Sunna waljama’a militia attacked the town close to the border of Somalia with Ethiopia which was under the control of Somali government forces.
Reports confirm that at least ten people died in the deadly battle and the casualties can be more than that. The numbers of people wounded is still unclear.
The two sides have fought several times on the control of the Galgadud province.
Residents have confirmed to the media that the Ahlu Sunna waljama’a militia managed to take over the control of the town while the Somali government forces have been pushed to the outskirts.
‘’ All the shops and schools have been closed, we are worried of the situation…. This kind of battle can erupt at any minute,’’ said one of the residents through telephone.
Ahlu Sunna is a paramilitary group consisting of moderate Sufis opposed to the radical Islamist groups such as Al-Shabaab in Somalia. It became prominent in 2008, when it took up arms against al-Shabaab after the radical group began destroying the tombs of the country’s Sufi saints.
The group has been famous for supporting the Somali government but it has accused the government for marginalizing it.
The fighting came while Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud arrived in the neighbouring town of Dhusamareb. He is expected to open a dialogue for different political figures who have disagreed on ways of building a new state for the Central region.