Witness: 24 Die in Somali Fighting
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) _ At least 24 people were killed and another 45 wounded in interclan fighting in southwestern Somalia, a witness said Saturday.
Fighting in Dhobley, 340 miles southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, erupted during the night when 150 subclan fighters attacked the town, the witness said. The witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the casualties included noncombatants and fighters from both sides of the Ogaden clan.
The fighting raged until early morning, halting all activities in the border town, said the witness, who spoke over high-frequency radio.
Somalia has had no central government since late dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was ousted by a coalition of rebels. After Siad Barre’s ouster, the rebels turned against each other and the country disintegrated into fiefdoms controlled by clan militias.
The witness said the latest fighting is a continuation of an unspecified Ogaden clan feud that had already killed 21 people. Reasons for the recent hostilities remain unclear, but a Dhobley businessman who spoke on condition of anonymity said Saturday it appeared to involve control of a smuggling route to Kenya.
Kenya closed its border with this east African nation late last year, citing smuggling and security concerns. Dhobley remains a smuggling hub.