Security forces loyal to the sitting president of the Southwest State Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed (Laftagareen) clashed armed militia with the backing of a presidential candidate, Mohamed Aden Farketi, a former finance minister of the Somali Federal Government. The Friday clashes began days after Villa Somalia backed rival clans vowed to topple Laftagareen’s administration, whose term of four year presidency has ended last week.
“This morning, my residency in Baidoa came under an aggressive attack by the Federal Police, NISA, SNA and Southwest State Darwish forces. The war is still going on,” Mr. Farketi said.
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.