The fighting erupted in the morning after state security forces loyal to the incumbent leader, Abdiaziz Laftagareen raided a house hosting his political opponent Mohamed Aden Farket. Mr. Laftagareen is facing fierce opposition following the expiration of his four year term last week.
“We have admitted nine injuries. Most of them are civilians including a family whose house was hit by a mortar shelling,” said Dr. Ali Bashir who operates at the hospital’s emergency.
Local media reported mortar shelling hit several residential houses in the Bardale neighborhood.
Abdullahi Mohamed, the Baidoa local government officer said there are a number of casualties including two civilians who perished after their home was hit by a mortar shelling.
Meanwhile, Mr. Farket blamed the incumbent president has authorised the Friday morning attack saying that “his people will react”.
Mr. Farket, a former federal finance minister, is among a group of opposition politicians who have been backed by the federal government of Somalia. The opposition group is based in Mogadishu.
There are no immediate response from the Southwest State security officials or from Mr. Laftagareen’s office.
However, residents and journalists said the gun-battle spread to Bardale neighbourhood in the city. This neighbourhood is known to be a Leysan clan stronghold within Baidoa. Machine-gun-mounted vehicles were seen in the city.
Security sources told local media that the city airport has been closed and flights from Mogadishu were canceled on Friday.
Civilians have been reportedly fleeing the city centre in a bid to seek safer places on the corner.
Baidoa currently accommodates one of the largest populations of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within the country, according to United Nations.