Fighting is still ongoing in the Galmudug state capital Dusomareb between federal government forces and fighters loyal to the armed Sufi Islam group Ahlu Sunnah wal Jama’ah.
At least five people, four combatants and one civilian, died in the fighting, which is going on around the Inji Building, where the top leadership of Ahlu Sunnah are based.
Residents have fled their homes in the areas affected by the fighting. Reports say sporadic gunfire and artillery bombardment are still being heard.
Clashes first broke out last night after a vehicle carrying Ahlu Sunnah members forced its way past a security checkpoint manned by government forces. A government soldier was killed and two civilians wounded.
The fighting has also spread to Guri’el town of Galgadud Region. Ahlu Sunnah fighters first stormed the town’s main police station, taking control of it.
Government forces launched a counter attack that went on past afternoon. At least three people from both sides were killed.
Government-backed Galmudug State leader, Ahmed Qoor Qoor, has accused Ahlu Sunnah of organizing violence in the region.
Sheikh Shakir, who was also declared state president by Ahlu Sunnah, said government forces attacked the security of Ahlu Sunnah leaders at Inji, and that the group’s fighters have reacted with restraint.
A number of federal parliament members as well as traditional elders have called for an immediate de-escalation of hostilities.