MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) _ Fighters from rival clans battled for control of a town in southern Somalia, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 30, witnesses said Saturday.

Fighting in Ealwaq began late Friday when militiamen from a faction of the Darod clan attacked in an effort to recapture the town, more than six weeks after they were pushed out by fighters from the rival Hawiye clan.

Fighting subsided early Saturday, but it was unclear which faction controlled Ealwaq town, 275 miles west of the capital Mogadishu, near the Kenyan border, said town resident Dahir Nuur.

Combatants torched nearly 50 thatched huts, Nuur said via VHF radio.

Health workers in the town confirmed Nuur's account of the fighting.

Somalia has had no effective central government since opposition leaders ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Then they turned on each other, transforming this nation of 7 million into a patchwork of battling fiefdoms ruled by heavily armed militias.