BAIDOA – At least 14 people were killed when government soldiers exchanged gunfire with each other in Baidoa town, which is about 250km southwest of Mogadishu.
The gunfight erupted at a distribution site after some soldiers attempted to steal food sacks which were intended for displaced people, while others guarding the food tried to stop them, Gen. Mahad Abdurahan Aden said.
Gen. Aden told The Messenger Africa that at least nine civilians had also been wounded in the skirmish, adding that the violence flared up over a dispute.
“We have taken at least nine internally displaced people, who have been wounded in the gunfight. The clash has subsided after interventions on both sides,” Aden said.
Baidoa hosts one of the largest populations of displaced people, with more than 142,000 recorded as of mid-May, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Justin Brady, the top UN relief official for Somalia, commented after hearing of the clash that he was “saddened to hear (the) local authority food distribution in Baidoa turned deadly,” adding, “Distribution management is crucial for beneficiary safety.”
Reporting by Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare