Six hundred families have fled their homes in Tugarey and Gashanley villages, 15 km east of Jowhar, following clashes there between two armed clan militias that broke out on 19th January.
The clashes were reportedly triggered by a long-standing dispute over farmland.
The families, mostly farmers, fled to Raqayle village, south of Gashanley.
Hajji Tarah Issa, a local elder in Gashanley, told Radio Ergo the ownership of the 2,300 hectares of farmland had been disputed by the two communities since the Italian colonial era and first erupted into violence in 1965.
Aways Nunow Ibrahim, another village elder, said almost all families had fled due to the fighting.
Hantey Ali, an elderly woman among the displaced people, said she and her grandchildren were now in Raqayle village. “We need peace, we don’t need war, I am an elderly person, I can’t run away and I can’t stay with other families,” she said.
Yahya Mohamed Ali, one of the peacemakers in Tugarey village, said elders and local police had managed to end the fighting. He said seven elders from the two sides were detained by the police over their role in the fighting.
Elders from Raqayle and Mukaydere are involved in mediation efforts to restore peace.