Deadly skirmish between police and soldiers in Somalia’s capital

File photo: An officer with the Somali Police Force stands in front of new pick-up truck, May 7th, 2012 (AU-UN IST Photo / Stuart Price)

MOGADISHU — At least four people were killed and five wounded including some bystanders on Wednesday afternoon when government soldiers and police exchanged fire in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, police and a witness said.

The gunfight flared up in the city’s Hodan district after police allegedly tried to kill a military soldier in retaliation for the earlier murder of a civilian in the capital. They were met by resistance from the soldiers’ colleagues armed with AK-47s, according to a police officer.

Policeman Osman Gedi told The Messenger Africa that at least four people had been killed in the skirmish, adding that five others were wounded and were taken into hospitals in the capital.

“We have intervened on both warring sides. This seems that police soldiers wanted to kill a military soldier, in revenge for a civilian murder,” Gedi said.

However, Gedi could not confirm how many – if any – of the casualties were from the police or military.

In an interview with The Messenger Africa, eyewitness Gutale Shine said that he ran away when he heard bullets that were being exchanged by the government troops, adding that he returned to help the victims.

“I ran away but when the gunfight subsided, I returned to take wounded people into hospital, as some of them were bleeding on the ground,” Shine said.

The situation then returned back to normal as locals resumed their daily activities, according to Shine.


By Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare