Eleven people are dead and fourteen others injured after heavy fighting broke out at a Somali town near the Kenyan border, eyewitnesses have told the BBC.
The fighting in Baled-Hawo town, in the south-western region of Gedo, started late Sunday night and continued until Monday morning
Somalia’s information ministry has accused Kenya of supporting “rebels” to attack federal forces amid rising tensions between the two East Africa neighbours.
Kenya has not yet responded to Somalia’s statement.
But an official of the semi-autonomous state of Jubbaland, Vice President Mohamud Sayid Adan said that regional forces stationed outside the town were attacked by federal forces in the town.
Both Jubbaland and the federal government are claiming victory, with Somali’s information ministry saying federal forces were in control of the town.
Residents say some people had started to flee.
The federal government and Jubbaland’s administration have been engaged in a dispute over the process for elections and control of some regions bordering Kenya.
Somalia last month severed diplomatic relations with Kenya after accusing Nairobi of “blatant interference” in Jubbaland affairs. Kenya denied the accusation.
The regional body, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), recently sent a fact-finding mission to the border but the findings have not been made public.