MOGADISHU, (Reuters) – Gunbattles between clan militiamen killed at least 17 people and wounded 30 on Saturday at a pirate stronghold on the coast of Somalia, witnesses said.
Local man Farah Aden told Reuters by satellite telephone that the fighting began overnight and became heavier in the morning, forcing most residents to flee Haradheere.
“The two clans are fighting over land and a girl who was raped in the forest. Unfortunately, the battles spread into town … Fighting is going on fiercely,” he said. Somalia has been torn by civil war since 1991, and the government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed controls only small pockets of the capital Mogadishu.
Somali pirates who attack vessels using the strategic shipping lanes linking Europe to Asia through the Gulf of Aden operate from several bases in the area, including Haradheere.