March 31, 2010 / 11:37 AM / 10 years ago

Clan clashes in central Somalia kill 16

A nurse assists a man wounded in cross-fire following renewed clashes between hardline Islamist fighters in Mogadishu May 13, 2009. REUTERS/Omar Faruk

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - At least 16 people were killed and 20 more wounded in clashes on Wednesday between rival clans in central Somalia, residents said.

The two clans have been fighting over land and water in Mudug region in the past few weeks. The latest clash happened in Barag village, 80 km (50 miles) north of Haradheere town.

“It’s awful fighting and tension is still high,” Ibrahim Osman, an elder in the village, told Reuters.

Residents said the fighting had stopped but more was expected as gunmen had been flowing into the area.

Hundreds of residents fled the village as their herds scattered because of the loud explosions.

The Horn of Africa nation has had no effective central government for 19 years and the West’s efforts to prop one up have been undermined by an insurgency led by the al Shabaab rebel group that is viewed by Washington as al Qaeda’s proxy in the region.

The chaos onshore has allowed pirate gangs to flourish and make millions of dollars from hijacking ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

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