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Fresh Fighting in Contested Somali Town

  • Abdulaziz Osman

Renewed fighting was reported in central Somalia Thursday, a day after the leaders of the rival Puntland and Galmudug administrations signed a peace deal.

A VOA reporter in the town of Galkayo, in the central Somali region of Mudug, said the fighting began early Thursday with heavy gunfire and continued with both sides using mortars.

At least 10 people were killed and more than 30 others wounded, according to medical officials.

Galkayo is the provincial capital of the divided Mudug region. The northern part is controlled by Puntland regional state, while the south is held by Galmudug regional state. Disputed land in the city has created tensions over control of the town.

Last week, fighting between forces loyal to both sides left 30 people dead.

According to the agreement finalized Wednesday, forces from both administrations were to have withdrawn from the frontlines Thursday.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the renewed fighting, saying it was "unfortunate" that the two sides did not honor the deal they signed.

Meanwhile, authorities say Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is in Galkayo, meeting separately with the rival sides in an effort to defuse the situation. Sharmarke brokered the peace deal.