At least 14 people were killed and 20 others injured on Monday in deadly clashes in central Somalia, witnesses and officials said.
Rival clan militias engaged in street battles in the town of Beledweyne following a dispute over tax collection, witnesses said. Beledweyne is 335 kilometers north of Mogadishu.
Most of the wounded are said to be civilians caught in the crossfire. A local journalist who was video-recording the fighting was injured.
Efforts are underway to mediate the dispute. Local elder Abdi Ali Boreh urged African Union troops in the city to help separate the rival sides.
The latest clashes come as the country’s leaders meet in Mogadishu to discuss Somalia’s next political transition. The government has said that elections slated for next year will not take place due to insecurity.
In the last three months alone, militant group al-Shabab has blown up a Mogadishu hotel, overrun three African Union peacekeepers’ bases in Somalia and detonated a bomb on the grounds of Somalia’s presidential palace.