Demonstrators in Mogadishu protested against the ongoing clashes between government security forces and Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a forces in the Guriel district of Galgadud.
The protestors – primarily women and children – gathered at the Tarabuunka intersection in Hodan district, burning car tires and other debris and disrupting public transport for hours.
Demonstrators chanted anti-war slogans, denouncing what they said was the mindless bloodshed of young blood.
Some protestors blamed Galmudug President Ahmed Abdi Kariye Qoorqoor and, by extension, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo for inciting the violence.
The demonstrators called for an unconditional end to the fighting. They called on Somali government officials and former officials to immediately intervene to end the conflict in Guriel.
The protests come after three days of intense fighting that has left over 120 people dead and widespread destruction of property. The federal government has sent dozens of troops from the capital to bolster the security forces in Galmudug.
ASWJ, a moderate Sufi paramilitary group, has been a key government ally in the fight against Al Shabaab in the past. There are serious concerns among policymakers and locals that the fighting in Guriel will irreparably damage that relationship in the future, further strengthening Al-Shabaab in the region.