Fighting between government security forces and Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a has started again in Guriel for the third consecutive day on Monday morning, according to local residents.
Reports say that the fighting has mainly been in the city’s eastern part, with both light and heavy weapons being used.
Government forces have claimed victory in the battle on Sunday, saying they were in control of most of the city and had set up multiple checkpoints.
While no one knows the exact figure of casualties, it is estimated that over thirty people have been killed in the fighting so far, with close to a hundred seriously wounded.
Residents in Guriel say that a child was also killed during the latest round of fighting.
Starlin hospital in Guriel was hit by mortar fire sustaining damage as it treated wounded fighters on both sides.
Rahmo Ahmed Diriye, the hospital’s director, says her hospital is too short-staffed and under-resourced to deal with the conflict. Several of the wounded fighters have been sent to hospitals in nearby towns.
Somalia’s government has flown some injured soldiers to Mogadishu for treatment.
According to reports, clashes destroyed Kulmiye private hospital along with businesses and homes.
The fighting has displaced over 100,000 residents who have been forced to flee to nearby villages already facing looming drought and water shortages. Aid agencies worry about the impact the new displacement will have on the overstretched host communities.
Galmudug security forces backed by the Somali National Army dislodged ASWJ from Guriel on Saturday after the Sufist paramilitary group captured the town from government forces in early October.