20 Dead, 90,000 Forced Off Somalia Clashes: UN

Somali soldiers patrol on a road between Mogadishu and Jowhar, some 90 kilometers north of the Somali capital Mogadishu on October 10, 2015. By Mohamed Abdiwahab (AFP/File)

Mogadishu (AFP) - At least 20 people were killed, 120 wounded and over 90,000 forced to flee days of rival militia battles in central Somalia, although the situation has now calmed, the UN said Tuesday.

Fighting broke out in the town of Galkayo on November 22 between gunmen loyal to the Puntland and Galmudug districts, with reports of heavy gunfire as well as mortars or artillery. Clashes continued after a ceasefire agreement last week, but the situation has been quieter.

Galkayo, which straddles the border between the two districts, has seen frequent fighting between rival political or clan groups, separate from the Islamist Shebab insurgents who are fighting the internationally-backed central government in Mogadishu.

"Relative calm has returned... armed forces from both states have started to withdraw from the frontline," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement, while warning the clashes had affected many people already struggling and in need of aid.

"The armed violence has exacerbated an already fragile humanitarian situation," the UN added.

Source: AFP
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