Fierce fighting broke out on Monday in Somalia’s Beled Hawo region, a town near the porous Kenya-Somali border in southern Somalia, killing at least 11 people.
Goobjoog News in Somalia reported that in the early morning gun battle between the Somali army and militants, “a deputy police chief and five children were hit by a mortar shell."
Mohamed Gomey, a doctor in the town, told reporters that Mohamed Abdi Nur, the region's deputy police commissioner, and five siblings from a family are among those killed.
Somalia accused Kenya of supporting the armed fighters. In a statement, the Information Ministry said Kenya-backed bandits were attempting to smuggle weapons into Somalia through the porous Kenya-Somali border.
“Armed rebels supported by Kenya crossed into the border and attacked Beled Hawo district of Gedo region, but, national forces have repulsed them. We strongly condemn the aggression which violates the interest and coexistence of people of the state and international norms based on the protection and preservation of national severity,” said Information Minister Osman Dube.
Somalia’s state news agency said "the country's armed forces have put an end to the attack that the Kenyan army launched with the help of local militias in which 100 of them were later captured in Beled Xaawo district of Gedo region.”
Meanwhile, Kenya said it is concerned over the renewed clashes. “Kenya’s primary concern is that the renewed fighting engenders large-scale displacement of civilians inside Somalia and increasingly generates large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers to Kenya, therefore aggravating the already dire humanitarian situation in Somalia and the refugee camps in Kenya," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
If the fighting continues unabated, the situation could further destabilize the region, complicate the security situation and reverse gains made in the fight against terrorism, it added.
Tensions between Somalia and Kenya have risen in recent days, with the former accusing the latter of interfering in its internal affairs.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.