MOGADISHU, June 13 (Reuters) – Fighting between Somali government troops and police has killed at least 13 people and injured 14 in Mogadishu after soldiers tried to rob civilians, police said on Sunday.
The clash occurred on Saturday in Hamarjajab district, in the south of the capital.
“The clashes came after some of the government troops started to rob a civilian car and the police were trying to stop it,” Abdullahi Mo`alim Kerow, a police officer, told Reuters.
The clash resulted in the deaths of nine soldiers and four civilians who were not involved the fighting but were caught in the crossfire.
“We have collected bodies of nine government troops … and three unidentified civilians. The injured have been taken to … hospital and the fighting has stopped,” Kerow said late on Saturday.
“This kind of clashes among the government troops is unfortunate and been has repeated so many times, claiming the lives of nearly 100 troops since January.”
Ten civilians were wounded and one of them later died, Ali Muse Abdi, the coordinator of ambulance services in Mogadishu, told Reuters.
Somalia has had no effective central government for 19 years and Western efforts to install one to steer the country back to stability have been hampered by an insurgency by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents and another smaller group, Hizbul Islam.
The Transitional Federal Government controls only a few blocks of Mogadishu with the help of African Union peacekeepers.
Elsewhere, al Shabaab regained control the strategic central town of Baladwayne from Hizbul Islam.
While Hizbul Islam and al Shabaab have fought together against the government in Mogadishu, they are rivals in other parts of the country.
“Al Shabaab is in full of control of the town. Their fighters are everywhere. There was no confrontation at all. The Hizbul Islam in town have been disarmed,” Adam Mohamed, a resident of Baladwayne, told Reuters.
Fighting in Somalia has killed at least 21,000 people since the start of 2007 and driven another 1.5 million from their homes, triggering one of the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies. (Additional reporting by Abdi Sheikh, editing by George Obulutsa and Alison Williams)