Rival groups from Somalia’s army clash in capital

Rival forces from Somalia’s army on Monday engaged in a gunfight in the capital Mogadishu, as one group attempted to storm a training center.

Soldiers and residents say the United Arab Emirates used to run the now abandoned training facility.

The clash is the latest indication of the difficulty in rebuilding a unified security force for the Horn of African country which has been dogged by violence for close to two decades, collapsing its centralized authority.

The UAE has trained hundreds of troops since 2014 as part of an effort boosted by the African Union to defeat an Islamist insurgency waged by the al-Shabaab militant group.

Al-Shabaab has engaged the central government in war for more than a decade, trying to dislodge it to instill an extreme jihadist system of governance.

The war has killed thousands and displaced millions.

The UAE ended its programme in Somalia this month in response to the seizure of millions of dollars by Somali security forces and the temporary holding of a UAE plane in the country.

“Some Somali military forces attacked us at the base, they wanted to loot it but we repulsed them,” Reuters news agency quotes Ahmed Nur, a soldier who was trained under the discontinued programme.

After 90 minutes of sporadic gunfire, the training facility was secured by presidential palace guards.

Some of the UAE-trained soldiers fled the scene.