Over 10 dead as rival regional forces battle in south Somalia’s Baidoa town

Somalia

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – More than 10 people were killed after fighting between two factions of Southwest regional troops broke out in the state’s temporary capital, Baidoa, VOA Somali reported on Friday.

The fighting which lasted for more than eight hours left a trail of destruction in the restive town that is the powerbase of Southwest state president Abdiasis Laftagaren whose opposition accuses him of attempting to stay beyond his constitutional term after his term ended days ago.

Former Somali finance minister Mohamed Adan Fargeto and a contender for regional presidency said on Friday regional forces had attacked his residence in Baidoa and looted his possessions.

The opposition alleged that the city’s police chief had threatened an attack on the home of Fargeto a day earlier.

Southwest president Abdiasis Laftagaren, in a video message, said an investigation would be established into the gun battle and threatened that authorities would not tolerate efforts aimed at undermining regional security.

Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called for cession of hostilities in Baidoa and urged warring sides to resolve their differences through dialogue, warning that the infighting would give an opportunity to Al-Shabaab, which controls areas just outside the town.

The United States said it was “concerned by reports of violence in Baidoa” and called for calm and dialogue in Southwest State.

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