Gathering of Regional Ministers Sparks Deadly Gunfight in Somalia


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – A gathering of Hirshabelle regional ministers in a town in central Somalia has prompted fierce gun battle between government troops and forces loyal to a rebellious former army officer.

Rebellious forces launched an attack on army positions inside the town of Baladwayne in Hiran region early on Sunday morning where heavy fighting ensued that lasted for several hours.

Heavy gunfire could be heard for hours and military vehicles rushing with reinforcements were seen across the streets of the town, resident say.

Casualties on both sides have not been immediately known, but the leader of the militias who had begun the fighting said one of his fighters wounded.

General Abukar Hud accused the regional administration of reneging on a previous agreement that it will not hold meetings in the town and as a result of which came the deadly fighting.

He said “there is no solution other than gunfight to confront Hirshabelle”, adding that regional leaders are trying to subjugate them in arm-twisting, though local authorities have not immediately commented on the claim.

The shootout came ahead of anticipated regional cabinet meeting scheduled to be held in Baladwayne on Sunday and there were reports that Hirshabelle president Ali Gudlawe was planning to visit the restive central Somalia town.

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