Five people were killed in crossfire between two groups of government soldiers when fighting broke out during distribution of relief food in Baidoa, police and witnesses said.
The incident happened at a site where food aid was being distributed to people displaced by drought earlier this year. Baidoa is north-west of Mogadishu.
“Two groups of soldiers clashed on the scene where food was being distributed. Five people, mostly women, died in the crossfire and 14 others were wounded. It was an accident and the case is being followed and investigated,” Major Hussein Edin, a police officer told Reuters.
Witnesses said displaced people were caught up in the crossfire as they lined up for food.
“Unexpectedly fighting broke out at the scene of food distribution. I could see many lying after the clash as I ran for my life,” Mohamed Nur, a resident who was at the scene, told Reuters.
Somalia is slowly recovering from drought, potentially reducing the risk of the Horn of Africa nation plunging into famine. The drought has led to some 6.2 million people – about half the country’s population – requiring food aid.
Families from rural areas moved to cities to search for food as animals died and water sources dried up.