Somalia: Fighting Continues in Bosaso for Second Day Despite Ceasefire Declared by Authorities

Bosaso

GAROWE (Somaliguardian) – Fighting continues for the second day in the coastal town of Bosaso in northeastern Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland as troops loyal to regional President Saeed Deni and US-trained elite counter-terrorism force battle for the control of the region’s commercial hub.

Clashes, which erupted on Tuesday, subsided shortly before sunset and resumed after dawn on Wednesday. Residents awoke to heavy exchange of gunfire and shelling, with many residential areas being hit.

Death toll has hit 15, with more than 30 others wounded, including combatants. Puntland Security Minister said two soldiers were among the dead. Three members of a single family and a religious cleric died after stray mortar shell struck a mosque in Bosaso on Wednesday, according to residents.

Regional authorities have declared a ceasefire despite fierce clashes still going on. Puntland Security Minister Abdisamad Mohamed said they would stop fighting and attributed civilian casualties as a result of residential areas shelled to the “gangs”, referring to US-trained special forces battling regional troops in the coastal city.

Thousands of Bosaso residents were seen in the streets of the town carrying some of their belongings after fleeing their homes. Some of the residents are still caught up in the gunfight and unable to leave their neighborhoods which turned into a battle zone.

Videos circulated on social media showed a number of regional troops sustaining injuries, some in critical conditions, being admitted to the main hospital of Bosaso, where dozens of civilians are also being treated for wounds.

Mayor of Bosaso Abdikani Ahmed Ismael said on Tuesday Turkish-trained Somali special forces – popularly known as Gorgor – were fighting alongside PSF and were shelling the city. Elite force mutineers overpowered regional troops on Tuesday and were able to gain ground and capture a number of military vehicles they have displayed. Their fighters celebrating inside a military base could be seen in videos shared on social media.

Fighting erupted on Tuesday after regional troops stopped a military vehicle carrying PSF members, according to officials. But both sides blamed each other for starting the gunfight. Troops loyal to Saeed Deni had arrested two PSF members days earlier and mutineers later injured a gov’t soldier and detained him in retaliation.

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