MOGADISHU — Clashes between Somali villagers and Ethiopian forces in a border area where the foreign forces carried out an operation left at least 16 people dead, witnesses said Sunday.
Residents of El-Dibir, where the fighting erupted late Saturday, grew angry over a week-long operation conducted by the Ethiopian troops and took up arms, local elders said.
“We have sent a team to collect the dead bodies. We are hearing that 16 people were killed and 21 others injured, and tension is still high in the area,” Abdurahman Moalim Adan, an elder in a nearby border town, told AFP.
An official of the Sufi sect Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa in the region said the Ethiopian soldiers targeted civilians.
“The people who were targeted by the Ethiopian troops are not rebels or violent elements. Nearly 20 people have died in the violence and one of them was a renowned chief who went to the area for mediation,” said Sheikh Bashir Mohamed.
Other local residents confirmed the clashes.
Ethiopian forces in May also clashed with residents of a border town in Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland region in an incursion that left at least 12 civilians dead.