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Heavy gunfire in Mandera as Somali, Jubaland troops clash

by STAR REPORTER

An aerial view of Mandera town. /STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Mandera residents were on Monday forced to flee after fierce clashes between Somalia troops and Jubaland forces.

Heavy gunfire and explosions coupled with black smoke could be seen emanating from the Mandera border as residents scampered for their lives.

Sources told the Star that Somalia National Army launched the attacks on Jubaland army after tension was reported over the weekend.

SNA claimed that the attacks are to get rid of al Shabaab militants but the Jubaland president Ahmed Mohamed has disputed these claims.

Mohamed claims that Somalia President Mohamed Farmaajo, is planning to overthrow him.

A source told the Star that Mogadishu wants to takeover Jubaland which is a break-away state and install a friendly government.

Reports indicate that SNA have jammed the Safaricom communication masts located in Mandera while the army was fighting with Jubaland.

The clash brought business to a standstill in Mandera town, where most shops remained closed.

Earlier, the Kenyan government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed the report from the Federal Republic of Somalia that Kenya is encroaching its borders.

A statement from the Somalia Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated February 27, had claimed that the move from the Kenyan government was undermining their stability and sovereignty.

In response, the Kenyan government said that the allegations from the Somalia side were baseless.

“These baseless accusations are are part of a growing and persistent pattern of ill intent to use Kenya as a scapegoat and tool to justify unfulfilled and legitimate social demands in Somalia and for the political mileage,” Kenya responded.

This has happened a day after 11 MPs secretly travelled to Somalia and met President Farmajo.

Source: The Star

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