updated 11/21/2010 12:02:16 PM ET 2010-11-21T17:02:16

Officials and witnesses say at least 13 people were killed in heavy clashes between armed groups fighting for control of villages in central Somalia.

The fighting erupted when a government-allied militia attacked Wardhumale village Saturday. The clashes continued Sunday.

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Wardhumale resident Abdi Fatah Ali said Sunday he saw ten bodies in the village.

A man in neighboring Elgod village, Abdulkadir, said he saw three bodies.

The residents said the Islamist militia al-Shabab abandoned Wardhumale village, leaving the government-allied Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama militia in charge.

Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama is a Sufi clan-based militia. It says the insurgents are practicing a brand of Islam foreign to Somalia.

Somalia has been a failed state for nearly 20 years.

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