Fighting Over Resources Kills 18 Somalis

Rival clan militias fought over scarce pasture land and wells in central Somalia Saturday, leaving 18 people dead and 15 wounded, residents and a witness said.

Fighting Over Resources Kills 18 Somalis
The battle began early Saturday in the villages of Mahas and Wabho, in a semiarid part of central Somalia, 300 miles northeast of the capital, Mogadishu, said Abdullahi Siad, a radio operator in a nearby town.

"The fighting has so far claimed the lives of 18 and wounded 15. Both warring sides are using all kinds of weapons. We are frightened by the sound of the gunfire," Siad told The Associated Press on two-way radio commonly used to communicate with remote parts of Somalia.

The fighting was separate from ongoing battles between Muslims and the Western-backed government.

Pasture and water for livestock often become scarce during the dry season in central Somalia, raising tensions among pastoralists whose livelihood is determined by the health and numbers of their goats, camels and cattle.

The militias used rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other heavy weaponry in the fighting, forcing residents to flee, Abdi Hirey, who witnessed the battle, told The Associated Press on two-way radio.

Leaders of both clans are working to stop the fighting, residents said.

The U.N.-backed government formed in 2004 has been unable to assert any authority over this country of about 7 million people.

AP
Last Mod: 18 Ağustos 2007, 18:11
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