A total of 10 people, including soldiers, were killed and several others injured as a fierce gun battle between Somali National Army (SNA) and regional forces broke out in the port town of Barawe in southern Somalia, local authorities said.
Mohamed Ibrahim Barre, governor of Lower Shabelle region, on Tuesday said the fighting started after paramilitary forces killed SNA soldiers near the headquarters of South West State in Barawe town on Monday afternoon.
"We have achieved a cease-fire between the warring parties at the moment and we are conducting an investigation regarding the cause of the fighting," Barre told journalists in Barawe and called on the disciplined forces to eschew violence.
An eyewitness, who requested anonymity, told Xinhua by phone that the situation was still tense and admitted hearing sporadic gunshots on Tuesday morning while residents started fleeing their homes to neighbouring villages, Xinhua news agency reported.
The two sides exchanged heavy gunfire which was even going on until midnight and created panic among the residents. Peace efforts by elders also failed, he added.The port town of Barawe is about 200 km south of Mogadishu, and it is the administrative capital of South West State in Somalia but faces security challenges from al-Shabaab militants despite the heavy presence of peacekeeping troops.