The clashes between armed militia from two groups broke out around the villages of Burdhinle and Hada-Ogle, situated in central Somalia’s Hiiran region and close to the border with Ethiopia.
“The fighting was heavy and the clan militias used armed vehicles. Twenty-three are so far confirmed dead but the toll could be higher,” local elder Osman Ahmed told AFP by telephone from the region.
Another elder, Abdule Muhamed, said both sides were heavily armed and that fighting was continuing.
Fighting between the Dir and Hawadle clans started late last year but had been stopped after the Somali national army and African Union peacekeepers from Djibouti intervened.
Somali government officials in the Hiiran region confirmed the clashes.
“We hope the brotherly clans will end their hostility through mediation and not bloodshed as is happening now,” said Abdi Ga’al, a Somali local government official.
“There are efforts to mediate between the sides, and the elders are about to go and solve it,” he said. (AFP)