At least three soldiers were killed and several others wounded when rival Somali government forces clashed in the southern Somali town of Baidoa, officials and witnesses said.
Clashes erupted when a regional soldiers unit clashed with another unit from a rival subclan over a dispute between two candidates for Somalia’s upcoming lower house election, multiple sources said.
“The clashes broke out this morning when two units of our regional soldiers clashed. At least three soldiers have died and four others are injured. Another unit of our troops were sent to go between them, and the fighting is now over,” Abdifitah Ibahim Geesey, regional administrative security minister, said.
Geesey declined to give details on what triggered the clash between the troops.
Mohamad Aden Malaq, a witness, said he saw the bodies of three soldiers and four wounded people at the Baidoa hospital.
Located about 250 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu, Baidoa is the capital of Bay region and the current base of Somalia’s South West State.
Analysts have said disputes over the election preparations and results may ignite similar clashes between supporters of opposing candidates.
Somalia has been without a functioning central authority since the 1991 ousting of strongman Mohamed Siad Barre. Subsequent governments have not been able to maintain control.