Friday December 31, 2021
Beledweyne (HOL) - Gunfire erupted on Thursday evening in the Koshin neighborhood of Beledweyne town, leaving residents ducking for cover in fear for their lives, according to residents and witnesses. Fighters loyal to Nur Dheere control the 40km road that links FeerFeer, a town in eastern Hiiraan, to Beledweyne.
Nur Dheere, the former governor of Middle Shabelle who is leading one of the anti-Hiirshabelle factions aligned with the Hiiraan Rescue Council - headed by General Abuukar Huud - have attacked the Hiiraan Governor Ali Jeyte and state forces.
The convoy carrying Jeyte was teportedly returning from a trip to the town of FeerFeer.
The fighting between Nur Dheere’s militia and regional forces ended in a standoff, but both sides were armed with heavy machine guns, mortars, and other small arms.
The leaders of both sides accused one another of firing the first shot.
Two people have reportedly died in the fighting, and ten others sustained injuries, with three confirmed to be civilians.
Local and state authorities said they tightened security and many strategic areas and major intersections within Beledweyne to minimize civilian casualties, prevent entry to opposition reinforcements, and contain the conflict.
The fighting came to a standstill around 11 p.m.; however, sporadic gunfire was heard by residents late into the night.
The HRC and their supporters accuse Hirshabelle’s leaders of monopolizing power distribution within the Federal Member State’s government.