MOGADISHU - Eleven Somali gunmen were killed and scores wounded late Sunday in a battle to control a checkpoint south of Mogadishu, militia sources and witnesses said on Monday.
"The incident took place late Sunday, claiming 11 men and wounding scores others," said Hassan Mohamed Hashi, a former army officer in the government of Mohammed Siad Barre that collapsed in 1991.
The clashes erupted after a group of gunmen used battle wagons and anti-aircraft weapons modified for ground assault to take control of the checkpoint from rival militiamen.
"The battle ... was purely motivated by greed, because attackers started controlling the checkpoint soon after taking it over," said Ahmed Yasin Mohamud, a resident of the area.
The attack was prompted by residents' complaints that the militiamen were charging them high protection fees while failing to curb insecurity in southern Mogadishu, according to militia sources.
Since 1991, the horn of Africa nation has been without a recognised government.