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Somalia: Dozens of Soldiers Killed in Clashes between Two Regions in Land Dispute

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Local Editor

Fighting between Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region and breakaway Somaliland killed dozens of soldiers, according to a witness and a military commander who spoke of a "hellish" outbreak of violence.


The clashes on Thursday morning appeared to be a resumption of more than 10 years of periodic conflict between Puntland and Somaliland over the disputed Sool region. 
"Somaliland attacked us and we had to attack Somaliland from other sides," Abdifatah Saiid, a Puntland military commander, told Reuters late on Thursday.

"It was a hellish battle. We killed 30 soldiers from Somaliland ... and from our side we lost six soldiers."

Meanwhile, a local elder in the area said the fighting broke out on Thursday morning and he counted a total of about 40 dead soldiers on both sides, with residents fleeing the area.

Puntland said it had captured 11 wounded Somaliland soldiers, according to the military commander. "We shall continue fighting till we reach Las Anod town which is ours but illegally controlled by Somaliland," he said.

Last week, clashes between the two sides over the ownership of Tukaraq village, seized by Somaliland last month, killed at least 45 people.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and operates as an independent state but has not won international recognition.

Clashes only add to the suffering of people in the area as they deal with an already-difficult humanitarian situation aggravated by tropical cyclone Sagar, a statement by the UN mission said.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team