MOGADISHU, Somalia – At least 23 people were killed in fighting in central Somalia and the seaside capital over the weekend, officials and witnesses said Sunday.
Thirteen people were killed in central Somalia when a militia allied with the government attacked a village held by Islamist insurgents on Saturday. The fighting continued into Sunday.
Abdi Fatah Ali, a resident of Wardhumale village where the fiercest fighting took place, said he saw 10 bodies.
A man in neighboring Elgod village, Abdulkadir, said he saw three dead people.
The residents said the Islamist militia al-Shabab abandoned Wardhumale village, leaving the government-allied Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama militia in charge. Spokesmen for both sides claimed victory.
Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama is a clan-based militia which supports Sufisim, the traditional form of Islam practiced in Somalia. One of the reasons it is fighting is because it says the insurgents are practicing a foreign brand of Islam.
In the capital of Mogadishu, weekend clashes between Islamist insurgents and government forces supported by African Union peacekeepers killed 10 people and wounded 17, said Ali Musa, the head of Mogadishu ambulance services.
The horn of Africa nation has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew a former socialist dictator then turned on each other.