Two Somali soldiers were wounded in a gunfight with other troops on Monday, a police officer said, a worrying internal rift for a military with a history of factionalism that is fighting a resurgence by militant Islamists, the Al-Shabaab group is suspected of being behind the country’s single deadliest attack on civilians this month that killed at least 358 people.
Nur Ali, a police officer, told Reuters the brief fighting took place in the Yaqshid district of the capital Mogadishu and was triggered by a misunderstanding between the district commissioner and security forces. “The district commissioner’s home guards and security forces exchanged gunfire,” Ali said, adding that soldiers briefly seized the commissioner’s office. The dispute was resolved, Ali said, but not before two soldiers were wounded.
Somalia’s military is often troubled by low morale caused by missed salaries, factionalism and defections. The country has been virtually lawless since the early 1990s after dictator Siad Barre was deposed. Al-Shabaab has not claimed responsibility for the twin bombing on Oct. 14 that flattened several buildings but it has carried out attacks on security targets over the years as it fights to topple the western-backed government, often also killing civilians.