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Fighting in Central Somali Town of Galkayo Kills 31

  • VOA News

A fierce battle in the disputed town of Galkayo in central Somalia has killed at least 31 people, including a radio reporter hit by a stray bullet.

Fighting between Puntland and Galmudug state forces erupted Sunday, shattering a days-old cease-fire negotiated by the United Arab Emirates.

Both sides traded heavy gunfire and mortars in the west side of Galkayo before the fighting spread into the suburbs. At least 80 were wounded.

Six civilians are among the dead and also journalist Mahad Ali Mohammed. The Union of Somali Journalists say he was working for the Galmudug radio station and was cut down by a stray bullet.

The latest fighting came after Puntland and Galmudug presidents reached a cease-fire agreement in Abu Dhabi. They agreed to stop the fighting while continuing to hold talks toward a final peace deal.

Speaking to VOA Somali, Galkayo and Putland officials accused each other of starting the conflict.

Galkayo is the provincial capital of the divided Mudug region of Somalia. The northern part of the town is controlled by Puntland regional state, while the south is controlled by Galmudug regional state.

The United Nations and relief groups say about 80,000 people have already fled the town.

Abdulaziz Osman contributed to this report.

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