MOGADISHU, Somalia [SMN) – Many people have started to flee their homes on Thursday, fearing that an armed clash could erupt in Guriel town, amid an escalating tension between Galmudug state and Ahlu sunna group.
Tension has been increasing since last month after Ahlu Sunna, a paramilitary group consisting of moderate Sufis opposed to radical Salafi groups such as Al-Shabaab took control of Guriel town, some 445km north of the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The capture of the town is seen as a move that could derail the efforts of improving security for the civilian population in the region.
In an interview with Shabelle Media, a local resident says many people had fled their homes in Wadajir, Daryel and Tawakal neighborhoods in the town.
“They are not fleeing from fighting, but that the fighting will come to them”, he said.
He says Somali army forces and Galmudug regional troops approached to the town, saying the coalition forces had stationed in Eldhere area near the town.
Unspecified number of combatants were killed last month after Ahlu Sunna militias clashed with government forces in Bohol area, about 35km north of Dhusamareb.
Last month, Somali PM Mohamed Hussein called on both sides to exercise restraint and avoid any actions.
By Abdirisak Mohamud Tuuryare