MOGADISHU - At least 15 people, including women and children, were killed and more than 20 wounded on Friday in fierce fighting between heavily armed rival members of a hostile subclan in central Somalia, elders said.
The clashes among gunmen of the fractious Galjel subclan in Bukakobo village in central Hiran region, about 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Mogadishu, erupted over an unresolved murder that occurred last year, they said.
"Fifteen people perished and more than 20 were wounded," elder Hassan Mohamed Salah said, adding that the sides had opened fire on each other with automatic weapons, pick-up truck mounted machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
He said that the dead and wounded included an unknown number of women and children.
Hiran governor, Yusuf Mohamed Hagar, said he had sent mediators to attempt to broker a truce but that they were not expected to arrive in Bukakobo until Saturday.
"I am aware that more people were killed and wounded by violence but I haven't received the exact figures of people hurt," Hagar said.
Witnesses said more than 100 families had fled the clashes to relatively peaceful neighbouring regions that are not inhabited by the warring Galjel factions.
Somalia has been without a functioning central government and awash in clan-related violence for the past 14 years since strongman Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.