Fighting between military and police backed by intelligence forces killed nine people in the Somali capital, police said.
“It seems they mistook the Somali national army for clan militias. The death toll is nine people including a civilian,” Major Abdullahi Hussein, a police officer, told Reuters.
He said the fighting occurred because police were wrongly informed there were armed militias in the area.
“Accidents happen,” he said.
Somalia has been riven by civil war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew a dictator and then turned against each other.
The UN-backed government is now battling an Islamist insurgency, but many members of its security forces are badly trained and co-ordination is poor.
“Last night security forces (police and intelligence) besieged us and then opened fire. We defended ourselves and chased the so-called security forces after hours of fighting today. We lost two soldiers and a wife of my colleague,” Major Nur Osman, a military officer, told Reuters.
“The land belongs to the military it houses the families of soldiers. The security forces were trying to force us off the land,” he said.
Residents said the fighting was terrifying.
“We were awoken last night … by gunfire … We took our babies on our shoulders and fled,” resident Mohamed Idle told Reuters.
In a separate incident, Islamist insurgents briefly entered the town of El Wak in Gedo region near the border with Kenya.
“A few soldiers were in El Wak and they left in the morning for tactical practice. Many al Shabaab fighters advanced,” Captain Ibrahim Ali, a military officer, told Reuters.
Al Shabaab said they stayed briefly, took weapons and supplies, and left.